PARIS (AP) — Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain scored in the last seconds of injury time to beat Saint-Etienne 3-2 and close the gap on league leader Lille to one point on Sunday.
PSG had just gifted Saint-Etienne an equalizer in the second minute of injury time when Mauro Icardi rose to head home Angel Di Maria’s cross three minutes later as the substitutes combined to give PSG a much-needed victory.
There are only five games left after this weekend in one of the closest title races for many years. Rival Monaco won 3-0 at struggling Bordeaux to stay one point behind PSG and keep hold of third place with fourth-place Lyon in action later at 19th-place Nantes.
PSG’s Kylian Mbappe scored twice to take his league-leading tally to 23.
He equalized with a fine finish in the 78th minute, one minute after striker Denis Bouanga put the visitors ahead at Parc des Princes, and then struck a penalty in the 86th after he was fouled by goalkeeper Etienne Green.
But PSG gifted the visitors a goal when Bouanga was given too much space down the left and his shot was poorly dealt with by goalkeeper Sergio Rico with Romain Hamouma in position to tap in.
PSG winger Pablo Sarabia struck the post with a free kick after 30 minutes and Green — a former club ball boy — made his first save five minutes later from Rafinha’s low shot.
In between, Saint-Etienne winger Wahbi Khazri had a goal ruled out for offisde.
Pochettino made a triple substitution midway through the second half, bringing on midfielder Marco Verratti, Di Maria and Icardi.
Di Maria failed to close down on the left and overlapping full back Miguel Trauco had plenty of time to pick out Bouanga’s close-range finish.
But Saint-Etienne was napping at the restart.
Verratti’s long ball over the top was expertly controlled by Mbappe with the outside of his foot and he slid it under Green for 1-1.
Pochettino’s first game in charge of PSG was also against Saint-Etienne in January and ended in a draw.
He was somewhat fortunate this time, while Claude Puel said his young Saint-Etienne side paid for a lack of composure.
“It really hurts to concede a goal 15 seconds from time … We scored a great first goal, but celebrated it far too much and conceded straight after,” Puel said. “We didn’t get our reward due to some inexperience. We paid dearly for it, so there are a lot of regrets.”
Lille dropped points when it was held 1-1 at home to Montpellier on Friday.
Striker Kevin Volland put Monaco ahead in the 28th from strike partner Wissam Ben Yedder’s pass, winger Gelson Martins struck just after the break and substitute Stevan Jovetic headed in a late third.
Monaco has lost only once in the past 21 games overall.