PARIS: Leaders Paris St Germain crushed Auxerre 5-0 with four second-half goals in Ligue 1 on Sunday to go into the mid-season World Cup break with a five-point lead over second-placed Lens.
PSG took an early lead through Kylian Mbappe after Lionel Messi found Nuno Mendes with a lob and the wing back’s cutback was fired home by the Frenchman who became the league’s outright top scorer so far this season with his 12t goal.
PSG were in control and dominated possession but failed to score a second before the break while the visitors’ best chance fell to Senegalese striker M’Baye Niang, whose shot was blocked well by goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The home side’s second goal was headed home by Spanish midfielder Carlos Soler in the 56th minute. Mendes was the architect as he went on a mazy run into the box, dribbling past three players before looping in an inviting cross for Soler.
Auxerre pressed forward to try to reduce the deficit and PSG duly punished their high line when Achraf Hakimi was released on goal by Soler, with the Moroccan outpacing the last defender and slipping the ball past keeper Benoit Costil before the hour.
Renato Sanches scored the fourth in the 81st after Costil kept French forward Hugo Ekitike out with a brillant save.
But 20-year-old substitute Ekitike made up for his earlier miss by pouncing on a weak back pass before beating the keeper for his first PSG goal to complete the rout.
PSG lead the standings on 41 points from 15 games ahead of Lens on 36 with Stade Rennais a further five points adrift.