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Back with a bang


PARIS, France (AFP) — Kylian Mbappe scored an injury-time penalty to seal a 2-1 win for Paris Saint-Germain over Strasbourg in Ligue 1 before admitting he will never get over France’s World Cup final defeat to Argentina.

Mbappe was back in action 10 days after scoring a hat-trick in the final but then seeing the South Americans win in a penalty shootout.

PSG had Neymar sent off for two yellow cards as the Brazilian made an unhappy return to action following his country’s elimination in the World Cup quarterfinals.

Captain Marquinhos had put the hosts ahead with an early header but the Brazilian defender scored an own goal after 51 minutes as some of PSG’s stars appeared to be suffering a post-Qatar hangover.

Neymar picked up a yellow for a petulant flick in the face of a Strasbourg player and then earned another for a blatant dive in the penalty area just after the hour.

Mbappe had been a constant menace for PSG but was unable to find the target with two clear-cut chances.

But deep into second-half injury time he was brought down in the penalty area and converted the winner from the spot in the 96th minute.

After the game, Mbappe said of the World Cup defeat: “I think I’m never going to get over it.”

“As I said to my teammates, there is no reason why the club should pay the price for the failure of the national team, they are two very different situations,” he added.

Argentina superstar Lionel Messi was absent from the PSG lineup after his World Cup-winning exploits.

The victory put PSG eight points ahead of Lens, who must beat Nice on Thursday to keep up.

PSG also announced that their 30-year-old Italian midfielder Marco Verratti has extended his stay at the club until 2026.

In other games, Lille beat 10-man Clermont 2-0 thanks to an Angel Gomes penalty and a late settler from Mohamed Bayo deep in time added on.

Lyon thrashed Brest 4-2 away from home as they push for the European places.

France may have had a glimpse of the future earlier on Wednesday when 17-year-old Monaco forward Eliesse Ben Seghir secured all three points in a 3-2 win over Auxerre on his Ligue 1 debut.

Thierry Henry was two months younger when he scored his first double for Monaco against Lens aged 17 years and 8 months back in 1995, but the brilliance of Ben Seghir’s brace brought back memories of the Arsenal and France star.

Ben Seghir, who does not turn 18 until February, came on as a second-half substitute for Wissam Ben Yedder, who had scored from the spot just before half time but was replaced anyway.

The newcomer unleashed his first goal within 12 minutes with an unstoppable shot to put Monaco 2-1 up.

He then delivered a solo effort to savor, delivering a curling winner from outside the box to make it 3-2.

After the final whistle the Monaco players led Ben Seghir to be serenaded by the away fans on a night that will live long in the teenager’s memory.

The win lifts Monaco up to fifth place on 30 points.

Ben Seghir grew up in Saint Tropez but is of Moroccan origin and has yet to decide who he will represent internationally though he has turned out for the France under-18s.

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