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Leader PSG beats Lyon 4-1 despite Mbappé staying on the bench. Monaco wins 2-0 at Brest to go 2nd

Sport

Leader PSG beats Lyon 4-1 despite Mbappé staying on the bench. Monaco wins 2-0 at Brest to go 2nd
Sport

Sport

Leader PSG beats Lyon 4-1 despite Mbappé staying on the bench. Monaco wins 2-0 at Brest to go 2nd

2024-04-22 05:48 Last Updated At:05:50

PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain played the whole game without Kylian Mbappé and still routed Lyon 4-1 at home to move closer to a record-extending 12th French league title on Sunday.

PSG is 11 points ahead of second-place Monaco with five games left for each side. Third-place Brest is out of contention after earlier losing 2-0 at home to Monaco.

Mbappé watched from the bench at Parc des Princes as his teammates moved 2-0 ahead after only six minutes, with Lyon midfielder Nemanja Matić turning in a cross for an own-goal and PSG defender Lucas Beraldo scoring from close range.

Striker Gonçalo Ramos made it 3-0 with a firm header. After forward Ernest Nuamah pulled a goal back for Lyon with a low strike from 20 meters, Ramos finished off a fine counterattack shortly before the break in a high-scoring first half.

PSG remains on course for an unprecedented club treble. Coach Luis Enrique's side is through to the Champions League semifinals and faces Lyon in the French Cup final next month.

Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette played against PSG one week after a face injury saw him taken off on a stretcher and, although he had a shot saved in the first half, he did not look as sharp as usual.

Surprise front-runner Brest dropped to third and sits two points behind Monaco, with only four games left for Brest.

The match ball for the Brest vs. Monaco game was delivered in an unusual away — by helicopter with a man hoisted down to the center circle with the ball in a bag.

Switzerland midfielder Denis Zakaria put Monaco ahead in the 40th minute, picking up a loose ball on the left of the penalty area and curling a fine shot into the right corner.

Japan forward Takumi Minamino made it 2-0 just after the break when he turned in a left-wing cross from Krépin Diatta. The goal was disallowed for offside but given when a review ruled Diatta was onside. Monaco finished with nine players after midfielder Eliesse Ben Seghir and defender Wilfried Singo were sent off in stoppage time as tempers frayed.

Also Sunday, Europa League semifinalist Marseille secured a 2-2 draw at Toulouse when substitute Faris Moumbagna scored in the sixth minute of stoppage time with a superb overhead kick.

Midfielder Jean Onana headed Marseille in front in the 38th after Jordan Veretout’s shot was deflected and looped into the air.

Defender Rasmus Nicolaisen equalized in first-half stoppage time and attacking midfielder Yann Gboho fired the home side ahead in the 82nd.

Rival fans clashed outside the stadium two hours before the kickoff, with steel barriers and other objects thrown down from a large group on a bridge toward another group below near the Marseille supporters' buses, with no injuries reported.

Earlier, French media reported that one Toulouse supporter was injured in the city center after a group of Marseille fans attacked a bar with local fans inside.

Last weekend, there was a mass street brawl involving around 150 rival fans from Rennes and Toulouse, in a season marred by soccer violence.

OTHER MATCHES

Canada striker Jonathan David scored his 17th league goal of the campaign as fourth-place Lille beat Strasbourg 1-0 to move one point behind Brest, having played one game less.

Metz won 1-0 at Le Havre in a match between relegation battlers, with Metz climbing to 15th and Le Havre dropping to 16th in the relegation-promotion playoff spot.

Georgia midfielder Georges Mikautadze, whose 23 league goals helped Metz to secure promotion last season, scored in the 46th minute.

Montpellier won 2—1 at Reims with Jordan winger Mousa Al Tamari grabbing a late winner.

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

PSG's Marco Asensio, right, challenges Lyon's Nemanja Matic during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PSG's Marco Asensio, right, challenges Lyon's Nemanja Matic during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PSG's Goncalo Ramos, 2nd right, celebrates with teammates after scoring his sides fourth goal during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PSG's Goncalo Ramos, 2nd right, celebrates with teammates after scoring his sides fourth goal during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PSG's Lucas Beraldo celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PSG's Lucas Beraldo celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PSG's Lucas Beraldo, left, celebrates with PSG's Goncalo Ramos after scoring his sides second goal during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PSG's Lucas Beraldo, left, celebrates with PSG's Goncalo Ramos after scoring his sides second goal during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to eastern Europe next week as concerns mount about Russia’s advances in Ukraine, potential Russian interference in neighboring Moldova and pro-Moscow legislation being promoted in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, the State Department said Friday.

Blinken will visit the Moldovan capital of Chişinau on Wednesday before attending a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Prague on Thursday and Friday. That meeting will be the military alliance's last major diplomatic get-together before leaders meet at a summit to celebrate NATO's 80th anniversary in Washington in July.

The trip comes just two weeks after Blinken made an unannounced trip to Ukraine to reassure Kyiv of Washington’s support in the face of intensified Russian attacks in its north. There are also signs Russia may be considering new actions in Moldova and is behind anti-Western moves in Georgia that the U.S. believes run counter to Moldovan and Georgian aspirations to integrate with Europe.

At his first stop in Chişinau, Blinken will meet Moldovan President Maia Sandu to reaffirm U.S. backing for Moldova's progress on joining the European Union, the State Department said. The top U.S. diplomat for Europe, James O'Brien, said Blinken would announce a “robust” support package for Moldova, where there are 1,500 Russian troops stationed in the disputed territory of Transnistria.

“There’s not a direct military threat that we see at this time, but there’s ongoing Russian influence operations, and that is of concern,” O'Brien told reporters. He did not give details of the support package.

Moldova, like Ukraine, is a candidate member for EU membership and has repeatedly accused Russia of conducting a “hybrid war” against the country, meddling in local elections and running vast disinformation campaigns to try to topple the government and derail its path toward joining the 27-nation EU.

Russia has denied the accusations, but the Moldovan government is wary of Moscow's intentions, particularly after Transnistrian authorities appealed to Moscow in February for “protection” due to what they said was increased pressure from Chişinau.

In Prague, Blinken will meet Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský and other officials to discuss support for Ukraine, including a Czech initiative to supply more munitions to Kyiv, before attending the NATO gathering.

With Ukraine as the top agenda item, NATO ministers also will be looking at developments in Georgia, which like Ukraine, aspires to join NATO and is embroiled in controversy over legislation that many believe is driven by Moscow and intended to thwart Georgia's Western aspirations.

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili vetoed the “Russian law” targeting media that has sparked weeks of mass protests, but the ruling party has a parliamentary majority sufficient to override her veto and is widely expected to do so.

The legislation would require media and nongovernmental organizations to register as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power” if they receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad. Critics say it closely resembles legislation the Kremlin used to silence opponents and that it will obstruct Georgia’s bid to join the EU.

Late Thursday, Blinken announced that the U.S. would impose travel bans on Georgian officials “who are responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Georgia, as well as their family members. This includes individuals responsible for suppressing civil society and freedom of peaceful assembly in Georgia through a campaign of violence or intimidation."

Blinken's announcement did not identify anyone who has already been targeted, but it also said the U.S. would undertake a comprehensive review of U.S.-Georgia cooperation.

“It remains our hope that Georgia’s leaders will reconsider the draft law and take steps to move forward with their nation’s democratic and Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” he said. “As we review the relationship between our two countries, we will take into account Georgia’s actions in deciding our own.”

FILE - Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, April 4, 2024. Blinken will travel to eastern Europe next week as concerns mount about Russia's advances in Ukraine, potential Russian interference in neighboring Moldova and pro-Moscow legislation being promoted in Georgia. The State Department said Friday, May 24, that Blinken would visit the Moldovan capital of Chisinau on Wednesday before attending a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Prague on Thursday and Friday. (Johanna Geron, Pool Photo via AP, File)

FILE - Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, April 4, 2024. Blinken will travel to eastern Europe next week as concerns mount about Russia's advances in Ukraine, potential Russian interference in neighboring Moldova and pro-Moscow legislation being promoted in Georgia. The State Department said Friday, May 24, that Blinken would visit the Moldovan capital of Chisinau on Wednesday before attending a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Prague on Thursday and Friday. (Johanna Geron, Pool Photo via AP, File)

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