Messi returns to the PSG squad, but Mbappé steals the show as Ajaccio is crushed.

Messi returns to the PSG squad, but Mbappé steals the show as Ajaccio is crushed.

Lionel Messi returned to the PSG squad after a temporary ban, and Kylian Mbappé stole the show with two goals as Ajaccio was thrashed 5-0 on Saturday.

With three games remaining, PSG drew closer to a record 11th French league championship, leading second-placed Lens by six points.

Ajaccio was demoted after their defeat.

Mbappé’s second-half brace put him on 26 goals, two more than Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette, whose team plays on Sunday.

Messi missed PSG’s last game because the club punished him for illegally travelling to Saudi Arabia for business purposes. The punishment was removed this week after he apologised.

Messi was met with varied reactions. Some spectators jeered the superstar, but the absence of PSG’s diehard “ultra” followers meant that the atmosphere at Parc des Princes was generally quiet.

The Paris Ultras Collective, who generally support one of the goals, have decided to boycott matches till further notice due to rising tensions with PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi.

PSG led 2-0 at halftime thanks to goals from midfielder Fabien Ruiz and right back Achraf Hakimi. Mbappé made it 3-0 in the 47th minute and added a 54th-minute shot from the outside of the box. Marquinhos, the central defender, struck a deflected shot that resulted in an own goal.

Hakimi was sent out for the second consecutive home game, along with Ajaccio midfielder Thomas Mangani, after a minor skirmish in the 77th minute.

To show their support for the battle against homophobia, the teams donned rainbow-colored numbers on their shirts.

Lens triumphed 2-1 at home on Friday, moving them closer to an automatic place in the Champions League.

In the previous game on Saturday, attacker Habib Diallo scored both goals as Strasbourg defeated Nice 2-0 at home to edge closer to safety.

The Senegal striker scored within the opening minute for the third time this season, and he added another in the 59th to reach 20 league goals.

Strasbourg finished 14th, six points ahead of Nantes in 17th, the first relegation place in a season in which four clubs were relegated.

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