By Abba Gwale
Kylian Mbappe scored his 100th goal for Paris Saint-Germain after making a late appearance as a substitute for the Ligue 1 leaders in Saturday’s 3-1 victory at in-form Montpellier.
With Neymar preserved ahead of next week’s crucial Champions League clash against Istanbul Basaksehir and Mbappe rested from the start, Colin Dagba’s first career goal gave PSG the lead on 33 minutes.
English forward Stephy Mavididi levelled before half-time at the Stade de la Mosson, the ball just crossing the line despite the best efforts of Dagba and Keylor Navas.
Moise Kean restored the advantage for PSG on 77 minutes after Rafinha triggered a quick counter, hitting a magnificent solo goal for his fifth in seventh league games.
The Italy international was then replaced by Mbappe, who wrapped up the victory in stoppage time as he brought up his century of goals in his 137th game for PSG, tapping in a Layvin Kurzawa cross.
“I’ve been wanting to score for a few matches, it’s a bit of a release,” said the 2018 World Cup winner.
“When I signed here I wouldn’t even had thought of scoring three goals,” he beamed. “(A hundred) was part of a distant goal.”
Mbappe is joint-fourth on the list of PSG’s all-time top scorers, level with Dominique Rocheteau and trailing Pauleta (109), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (156) and Edinson Cavani (200).
“I’m feeling better and better, stringing matches together is going to allow me to get fully fit,” he said.
“When I came here, I said that I wanted to get a lot better and you don’t do that in a year.
“It’s been three and a half years, I’ve experienced a lot of things here. I’ve had some less good moments, but the club has always supported me.”
Defending champions PSG pulled four points clear of Marseille at the top as they avoided going three league games without victory for the first time since April 2019.
Montpellier, without top scorer Andy Delort after he tested positive for coronavirus for the second time in three months, saw their hopes of dislodging the leaders dashed as their four-match winning run came to an end.
Earlier, Rennes crashed to a sixth defeat in seven matches as they lost 2-0 at home to Lens, three days being dumped out of Europe.
Teenage striker Arnaud Kalimuendo, on loan from PSG, hit the opener on 27 minutes and Ignatius Ganago sealed the victory late in the second half.