Hat-trick star Kylian Mbappe matched one Ligue 1 record by scoring after just eight seconds in Lille to set Paris Saint-Germain on their way to a 7-1 victory on Sunday, while the division hit a modern high with 11 red cards in one weekend.
Mbappe equalled a 30-year-old record when he burst into space, collected a pass from Lionel Messi and surprised Lille goalkeeper Leo Jardim with a lob to score his second league goal of the season.
The goal matched Michel Rio’s strike for Caen against Cannes on February 15, 1992, although statisticians MisterChip calculated that Rio was slightly faster, scoring after 7.9sec to Mbappe’s 8.3.
Mbappe then hit a post when facing an open goal, but Messi, Achraf Hakimi and Neymar all scored before half-time as PSG tore apart the only other club to win the French title in the last five seasons.
Stories of tensions between two of PSG’s superstars, Mbappe and Neymar, had swirled around the club this week but the Brazilian scored twice and Mbappe three times.
“It’s a real satisfaction to see them happy on the field, playing for each other,” PSG coach Christophe Galtier said.
“Obviously there is talent, and when this talent comes together, it makes for a very enjoyable match.”
Neymar added a fifth early in the second half. After Jonathan Bamba replied for Lille, Mbappe struck twice, set up both times by Neymar.
The match ended a weekend when French football saw red, as referees applied a new “firmness order”.
After Vanderson of Monaco and Samuel Gigot of Marseille were sent off on Saturday, there were nine more reds on Sunday, setting a single-round high in Ligue 1 for the last 30 years, according to statistics company Opta.
There were also seven reds in Ligue 2, three of them for Saint-Etienne as they lost 6-0 at home to Le Havre.
The last two reds on Sunday came in Rennes, where, despite a warning from their coach, Ajaccio finished with 10 men as Lesley Ugochukwu, who had only come on for Ajaccio five minutes earlier, was shown red in added time.
“Seeing the matches earlier in the day, I had the feeling that the referees had received firm instructions. I warned my players,” said Ajaccio coach Olivier Pantaloni.
Hosts Rennes, who won 2-1, lost back-up goalkeeper Romain Salin to two yellow cards in quick succession for arguing from the touchline.
“The spectacle was perhaps more the red cards than the play this afternoon,” complained Rennes coach Bruno Genesio.
“It’s a bit weird. It is regrettable. Because it distorts the matches.”
In Clermont, Saif-Eddine Khaoui scored the only goal against struggling Nice in the fifth minute.
The visitors, who have not won this season, lost Mario Lemina in the 80th minute and Jean-Clair Todibo two minutes later.
‘Killed each other’
There were four red cards in Montpellier as Auxerre gained their first victory in Ligue 1 since May 2012.
Montpellier midfielder Khalil Fayad was sent off in the 46th minute and Auxerre striker M’Baye Niang in the 51st.
After Mathias Autret scored a penalty winner, Nuno Da Costa and then Montpellier midfielder Teji Savanier were sent off.
“There were four expulsions. That’s heavy in a game without extreme violence,” said Auxerre coach Jean-Marc Furlan.
“In our time, when we played, we killed each other. There was never a yellow or a red. UEFA changed all that because there were serious injuries like (Diego) Maradona or (Marco) Van Basten,” said the former defender, who played for a series of French clubs from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s.
Montpellier coach Olivier Dall’Oglio agreed.
“There are red cards being shown very quickly, there are penalties being whistled very quickly,” said Dall’Oglio.
“There are always new instructions. There is always a new strictness, but it will fade as the days go by.”
Angers lost 3-1 at home to Brest after losing Halid Sabanovic to a straight red in the 35th minute.