PARIS: Defender Timothee Pembele scored his first goal for Paris St Germain as the champions earned a 4-0 home win over Strasbourg on Wednesday to keep pace with Ligue 1 leaders Oympique Lyonnais and second-placed Lille ahead of the Christmas break.
Lyon will head into the two-week hibernation on 36 points from 17 games after easing to a 3-0 home rout of Nantes, with Lille behind them on goal difference after a dramatic 3-2 win at eighth-placed Montpellier.
Third-placed PSG stayed a point adrift of the top two after a Kylian Mbappe tap-in followed by an Idrissa Gueye piledriver and an opportunist finish from striker Moise Kean tore Strasbourg apart in the closing stages.
PSG were Still missing Brazil forward Neymar through an ankle injury and their opener came from an unlikely source as 18-year old Pembele swept in an 18th-minute rebound after goalkeeper Elji Kawashima parried Angel Di Maria’s shot.
The visitors were forced into submission in the last 10 minutes as Di Maria robbed a Montpellier defender of the ball and squared it to Mbappe, who could not miss an empty net from three metres.
Gueye then hit the bottom right corner with a screaming shot from 30 metres before Kean put the icing on the cake with a shot that cannoned off two defenders on the line into the net as Strasbourg fell apart.
First-half goals from Karl Toko Ekambi, Tino Kadewere and Lucas Paqueta fired Lyon to a comfortable win over visiting Nantes while Lille overcame Montpellier thanks to a late goal from Turkey striker Burak Yilmaz.
Timothy Weah and a Jonathan Ikone penalty had Lille 1-0 and 2-1 in front while Gaetan Laborde and Andy Delort replied for Montpellier before Yilmaz netted an 87th-minute winner for the visitors.
Olympique Marseille dropped one place down to fifth and lost ground in the title race after a surprise 2-1 defeat at Angers while sixth-placed Monaco were held to a 2-2 draw at 10-man St Etienne, who had Eliot Matazo sent off in the first half.
Sofiane Diop gave the home side an early lead and Kevin Volland salvaged a point for them with a 48th-minute effort after Mathieu Debuchy and Denis Bouanga had turned the tide.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)