Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Brest: Pochettino off the mark with first win as champions close gap
Moise Kean - cropped
AFP
Paris Saint-Germain returned to winning ways in Ligue 1 with a 3-0 victory over Brest at the Parc des Princes on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain saw off Brest 3-0 to collect their first victory under new head coach Mauricio Pochettino and close the gap on Ligue 1 leaders Lyon.

PSG were held to a 1-1 draw by Saint-Etienne in Pochettino's first game in charge on Wednesday but had too much quality for Brest in Saturday's encounter at the Parc des Princes.

Moise Kean's 11th goal of the campaign in all competitions set the reigning champions on their way with 16 minutes played and substitutes Mauro Icardi and Pablo Sarabia each got on the scoresheet in the final 10 minutes.

The win - less emphatic than the scoreline may suggest - moved Pochettino's men within a point of pacesetters Lyon, who battled back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Rennes and retain top spot.

Keylor Navas pulled off a theatrical save to keep out Romain Faivre's curler and PSG were in front soon after thanks to Kean, who helped the ball over the line from a yard out after Marquinhos' header hit the inside of the post and landed in his path.

Marquinhos once again came close when guiding another header on target, but Gautier Larsonneur was equal to both that attempt and Idrissa Gueye's venomous long-ranger two minutes later. 

Brest are now without a win in 18 league meetings with PSG but troubled their opponents in a largely even first half, with Irvin Cardona let down by a poor first touch when clean through and Faivre seeing a free-kick pushed aside by Navas.

Larsonneur pulled off a fine save to frustrate Kylian Mbappe with an hour played and the forward curled a shot wide three minutes later as PSG - who lost Gueye to an apparent foot injury - pushed for a clinching second.

That goal arrived nine minutes from time courtesy of Icardi's composed finish following some superb play from Mbappe to get away from a pair of defenders in the opposition box.

And Icardi, making his first appearance since November after recovering from injury, teed up Sarabia to round off the scoring late on as PSG made a winning home start to Pochettino's tenure.
 

What does it mean? Lift-off for Poch

While Pochettino was keen to take positives from his first game earlier this week, a draw with Saint-Etienne was ultimately a disappointing result for the new man.

However, this third home win in a row without conceding means they are now breathing down the necks of Lyon, who dropped points for just a second time in 10 outings on Saturday.

Pochettino will be particularly pleased with the way his side turned possession (60.9 per cent) into shots on target (11 in total) and goals against a Brest side who had lost just two of their previous nine.

Kean to make his mark

The on-loan Everton striker was perfectly positioned to nod in from under the crossbar, making it nine goals in 13 Ligue 1 outings this season.

That is already as more than he managed in his previous two campaigns with Everton (two Premier League goals in 2019-20) and Juventus (six Serie A goals in 2018-19) combined.

Mbappe on the fringes

While Kean is in great goalscoring form, striker partner Mbappe is going through a bit of a difficult patch in front of goal.

He has now scored just once in his past four matches, failing to find a way through from any of his three efforts on target here, though he did set up Icardi with a brilliant assist.

Key Opta Facts

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- PSG scored their first Ligue 1 goal from a corner since February 2020 (against Dijon).
- Kean scored only his second headed goal league (from 22 goals) after his effort for Juventus against Bologna in May 2017. He has also netted with each of his seven shots on target at home in Ligue 1 this season.
- The hosts scored with two different substitutes for the second time in their past three Ligue 1 games, as many as in their previous 285.
- Icardi scored his first Ligue 1 goal since September 2020 (against Reims) and scored and assisted in the same league game for the first time since December 2019 (against Amiens).
- Mbappe has only failed to score against two of the 26 Ligue 1 opponents: PSG and Brest. He attempted five shots on Saturday, his highest total without scoring in the league since his seven against Lille in January 2020.
- Navas has saved 16 of the past 18 shots on target he has faced in Ligue 1, having conceded from each of the previous four.

What's next?

PSG have a chance to win their first piece of silverware of the season on Wednesday when they take on Marseille in the Trophee des Champions. Brest are back in Ligue 1 action in eight days' time with a home game against Rennes.