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Ligue 1 wrap: Mbappe, Cavani limp off in PSG’s 4-0 Neymar-less win

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PARIS (AP) After being involved in one of the most comical moments in European football last season, striker Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting distinguished himself with a fine goal and scored a second as Paris Saint-Germain beat Toulouse 4-0 in the French league on Sunday.

The resounding win came at a price, however, as PSG forwards Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe, clutching the back of his left leg and grimacing, limped off.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said the players will have tests Monday to determine the extent of their injuries.

Despite being match fit, record signing Neymar remains unavailable as he seeks to push through a move away from the club – a situation which appears increasingly exasperating for Tuchel.

“Today was the occasion (for him to play) … it’s certain he could have played today,” Tuchel said in French on Canal Plus television. “It’s not a clear situation and it should be clear.”

Tuchel then went as far as to suggest he has little or no say as to whether Neymar can play against Metz on Friday – just days before the transfer window shuts.

It was Choupo-Moting, then, who replaced Cavani in the 13th minute and he will not enjoy many nights like this.

Receiving a pass from Angel Di Maria, the Cameroon striker burst into the penalty area, span around with one touch to move inside two defenders and drilled the ball into the bottom left corner with the next touch in the 50th minute.

It was only his fourth goal in 23 league games since a surprise move from unheralded English side Stoke last season.

In April, Choupo-Moting was widely mocked on social networks for an extraordinary passage of play in a 2-2 home draw against Strasbourg. Amid disbelieving looks from teammates, he somehow prevented a goal for his team despite the ball being about to cross the goal-line, gently nudging the ball onto the post before it was cleared by defenders.

He was only on the field on Sunday night due to an injury to Cavani, who limped off with what appeared to be a leg muscle injury. Midway through the second period, Mbappe left the field after appearing to hurt his hamstring.

After a first half in which Mbappe missed good chances, Choupo-Moting’s opener was a welcome breakthrough. Five minutes later, it was 2-0 when Toulouse defender Mathieu Goncalves turned Pablo Sarabia’s cross into his own net.

Goncalves was harshly judged to have conceded a penalty soon after, slipping over in the area and powerless to stop Sarabia’s cross hitting his left arm. Referee Jerome Brisard still gave it, despite a video review. With Cavani injured and Neymar absent, Di Maria took the spot kick and saw his effort well saved by goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet.

Choupo-Moting confidently drove home a cross from left back Juan Bernat in the 75th and Brazil defender Marquinhos headed in Di Maria’s corner from the left late on for the fourth goal as PSG climbed up to third place with six points – three points behind leader Rennes.

Lyon can move back top on goal difference with a win at Montpellier on Tuesday.

OTHER MATCHES

Rennes won 2-0 at Strasbourg.

Confidence was high after last Sunday’s 2-1 home win against PSG, and goals from midfielder Clement Grenier in the first half and powerful center forward M’Baye Niang soon after the break made it nine points from three games.

Monaco, meanwhile, is still seeking its first win after drawing 2-2 at home to Nimes.

New signings Wissam Ben Yedder and Islam Slimani scored to put Monaco 2-0 up at halftime.

But after Brazilian defender Jemerson’s 55th-minute sending off, Nimes hit back through midfielder Romain Philippoteaux and 18-year-old forward Kevin Denkey.

Jemerson was shown a yellow card for a tackle from behind on Philippoteaux, but the referee changed it to a red following a video review.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Tielemans in England to wrap up permanent move to Leicester

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Youri Tielemans only spent half of the 2018-19 Premier League season on loan to Leicester City, but the 22-year-old midfielder made quite the impression.

[ MORE: Man United “in the process” of selling Paul Pogba ]

Such an impression, in fact, that Leicester made a bid to Monaco in an attempt to sign the Tielemans on a permanent transfer ahead of the 2019-10 PL season. According to multiple reports out of the UK, he flew to England this week to iron out the details.

Tielemans’ initial loan agreement did not include an option to buy at the end, which will have undoubtedly given the Ligue 1 side additional leverage in negotiations after the Belgian shone brightly (three goals and four assists) in his 13 appearances for the club. Monaco are said to be demanding what would be a new Leicester club-record fee of $50 million.

[ MORE: Barcelona president says Antoine Griezmann talks underway ]

The hope is that Tielemans’ transfer will be completed in time for him to join the first-team squad for the start of preseason training next week. Tielemans joined Monaco two years ago for roughly $25 million.

Ligue 1: PSG hit 80-point mark; Monaco lose again, stuck on 30

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Kylian Mbappe scored his 27th goal as runaway leader Paris Saint-Germain won 1-0 at Toulouse to post an eight consecutive league win.

Facing a depleted PSG side, Toulouse defended well throughout and PSG looked to the individual brilliance of its star striker to bag three more points in its march toward the title.

Mbappe, the league’s top scorer, broke the deadlock in the 74th minute from Thilo Kehrer’s cross. He controlled the ball in the area with a smart touch and fired the ball into the net with the outside of his right boot.

PSG has a 20-point lead over Lille in the standings and is all but guaranteed to win a sixth title in seven years.


Forward Enzo Crivelli scored the winner as Caen upset Monaco 1-0 to move out of the automatic relegation zone.

Caen had started the day bottom of the standings but Crivelli made the most of a superb cross from captain Faycal Fajr to beat goalkeeper Danijel Subasic with a header in the 23rd minute for his sixth goal this season.

The result lifted Caen to 18th place, seven points behind Monaco.

The hosts enjoyed most of the possession in the first half but were only able to pepper Caen’s area with inoffensive crosses as Radamel Falcao was too often left on his own in the box.

Monaco improved after the interval and Caen goalkeeper Brice Samba pulled off three decisive saves to deny efforts from Kamil Glik, Carlos Vinicius and Stevan Jovetic.

Luck was also on Samba’s side when Gelson Martins hit the post with a right-footed shot and Jean-Eudes Aholou saw his volley crash onto the Caen crossbar.

Monaco slows down Lille’s Champions League bid with 1-0 win

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PARIS (AP) Monaco boosted its chances of staying up and slowed down Lille’s bid for an automatic Champions League place with a 1-0 away win on Friday.

Brazilian striker Carlos Vinicius pounced in the last minute to move Monaco up to 16th place in the French league and keep Lille under pressure in the fight for second.

[ MORE: Ligue 1 score, schedule

Third-place Lyon can close the gap to four points with a home win against seventh-place Montpellier on Sunday, after which both sides have nine games left.

In Friday’s other game, eighth-place Nice conceded a last-gasp equalizer in a 1-1 home draw with 14th-place Toulouse.

As so often this season, Nice played without a recognized center forward and midfielder Wylan Cyprien opened the scoring midway through the first half with a free kick from 30 meters (33 yards) out. Striker Firmin Mubele equalized in the 89th minute for Toulouse, which moved further away from the danger zone.

Meanwhile, runaway league leader Paris Saint-Germain remains 17 points clear of Lille despite playing two games less, and is even closer to another title after Lille’s stumble.

PSG hosts bitter rival Marseille on Sunday, with only the title and the French Cup to focus on following its surprise elimination from the Champions League.

Marseille has found form since the arrival of striker Mario Balotelli from Nice. He has netted five times in seven games to help the club into fourth place.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Radamel Falcao plans to switch to baseball

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Radamel Falcao is known as a predatory striker who loves scoring goals. He could soon be known as a classy third baseman with a penchant for driving home runs…

The Colombian national team star, 33, has played for FC Porto, Atletico Madrid, Monaco, Chelsea and Man United in Europe but it seems like he could be a little fed up with running around.

Speaking to France Football, the current AS Monaco striker revealed what he plans to do after his playing days are over.

“I love baseball. When I was little, in Venezuela, where I grew up, it was the sport I practiced, at a very good level… I often talk about it with my wife. I think when I finish my football career, I’ll start one as a professional baseball player,” Falcao said. “Like Jordan, even if he was a basketball player and did not get to play in the big leagues, at the highest level. I want to be the first to succeed!”

Now, there is a certain level of tongue in cheek in here, surely, but Falcao’s power is undoubted and when you think about it, you can see him playing baseball. Am I right?

In my mind El Tigre would be designated hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals. A player who drives home runs relentlessly to left-field and is adapt at stealing bases.

If this happened, it would be pretty awesome. Is it going to happen? Probably not.