PARIS (AP) Kylian Mbappe scored a brilliant late goal and got sent off right at the end of Paris Saint-Germain’s pulsating 4-2 win at Nimes in the French league on Saturday.
Two weeks after coming off the bench to score twice against Guingamp, he bailed out PSG with an unstoppable 77th-minute strike to make it 3-2 after Nimes clawed back from 2-0 down and then hit the crossbar.
Chasing down a high ball on a PSG counterattack, Mbappe cushioned it expertly on the inside of his right foot without breaking strike, directing the ball into his path so he could then lash a fizzing shot into the roof of the net.
Striker Edinson Cavani added a fourth in injury time after being set up by winger Angel Di Maria, who earlier scored direct from a corner.
With seconds remaining, Mbappe reacted to a late challenge from midfielder Teji Savanier and shoved the player forcefully to the ground.
Referee Jerome Brisard, who showed Mbappe a yellow card for petulantly kicking the ball away in the first half, instantly brandished a red. Mbappe stomped off, looking unhappy. But the 19-year-old star of France’s World Cup-winning campaign was berated by his own goalkeeper Alphonse Areola for his wild reaction. Savanier was also sent off.
In the first half, Di Maria spotted a gap inside the near post and expertly curled the ball in from the left corner flag for 2-0. Moments earlier, Neymar tapped in right back Thomas Meunier’s cross after 36 minutes.
Two weeks ago, confusing VAR decisions helped PSG win at Guingamp 3-1. In that game, the home side had a goal disallowed by a contentious VAR decision when leading 1-0 and a blatant penalty not reviewed with the score 1-1.
This time, VAR did not spare PSG.
PSG seemed to be getting another reprieve when leading 2-1 with 20 minutes remaining. Brisard waved away penalty claims, after Thiago Silva caught the back of midfielder Theo Valls’ leg as he turned inside the penalty area.
But he changed his mind after reviewing the images and Savanier equalized from the spot in the 71st, drilling a low shot inside Areola’s right post.
Areola was well beaten by midfielder Antonin Bobichon, who struck in the 63rd with a curler from the edge of the area into the top right corner.
After Nimes equalized, PSG was firmly on the back foot against the club with the smallest budget in Ligue 1 and which had not played in the top flight since 1993.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, replaced for this game by Areola, shouted at his PSG teammates from the bench in a bid to wake them up. But Nimes was on a roll and almost made it 3-2 as defender Sofiane Alakouch hit the crossbar. Then, Areola saved his side with a leaping stop.
But pushing up for a winner against PSG comes with a risk, since it leaves huge gaps for the electric Mbappe to exploit with his searing pace.
Later Saturday, Dijon looked to join PSG on four straight wins with a home victory against Caen.