PSG and Monaco in six-goal thriller
By D. Crossan
Champions Paris Saint-Germain were held 3-3 at home by Robert Moreno’s Monaco despite a Neymar double in the most entertaining Ligue 1 Conforama match of the season.
Paris Saint-Germain 3-3 AS Monaco
Robert Moreno decided to take PSG on attack for attack in the battle of the top two forward lines in the division and that ensured a wonderfully entertaining encounter that could have gone either way. It all bodes well for another superb game when the sides meet again in the league at Stade Louis II on Wednesday night.
Terrific going forward but vulnerable defensively, Monaco conceded the opening goal (3′) as Benjamin Henrichs was caught out of position by Neymar, who met Marco Verratti’s outstanding clipped pass and beat Benjamin Lecomte. Monaco equalised (7′) through Gelson Martins, who tapped the ball into the empty net. It was probably a relief for PSG that Monaco scored as goalkeeper Keylor Navas had fouled Wissam Ben Yedder after Cesc Fabregas’ astute pass. Fortunately for Navas, Antony Gautier had let the play go.
This was Moreno’s first league game in charge of Monaco and his side took the lead (13′) at the end of a fine counter. Keita Baldé found Wissam Ben Yedder and the Ligue 1 Conforama top scorer was calmness personified as he beat Navas to score his 14th of the season.
Goals, goals, goals
It was a chance laden game and Monaco could have gone 3-1 up when Baldé was clean through, only for Navas to make a fantastic save with his left leg. PSG were level again (24′) when Neymar’s cross towards two unmarked players was turned into his own net by Fodé Ballo-Touré, who spent his formative years at PSG.
Monaco were close to regaining the lead when Kamil Glik’s header from a corner (31′) hit the post. Alexsandr Golovin (37′) could have netted for the visitors as PSG’s defence continued to struggle but PSG went in with the lead as Neymar converted from the penalty spot (42′) after Kylian Mbappé had been fouled by Gelson Martins. There was then an even better chance for Golovin (45+3′) but he put it wide.
There weren’t as many goals in the second period but still plenty of excitement. Lecomte saved from Neymar (54′) and then Monaco scored (70′) through substitute Islam Slimani. The forward had been played back onside buy Marquinhos’ deliberate intervention and the goal stood after a VAR intervention, having initially been ruled out for offside.
Navas (87′) made another terrific save from a Slimani header that flicked off Thiago Silva’s arm and then the final chances of a magnificent game fell to Mbappé (90+4′) who volleyed wide and sub Edinson Cavani, whose shot was saved by Lecomte. Vivement mercredi!
THE PLAYER: Neymar
The Brazilian has scored in nine of his 11 Ligue 1 Conforama games and was involved in all three of PSG’s goals on the night. He’s been involved in 11 of PSG’s last 15 league goals but despite the world’s most expensive player’s contribution, the match inevitably threw up questions as to whether PSG can afford to play with their “fantastic four” attackers against clubs with offensive arms of their own like Dortmund in the round of 16 of the Champions League.
THE STAT: 6
Kylian Mabppé’s scoring run ended at six consecutive Ligue 1 Conforama games as he was kept off the scoresheet by the club he helped to the title in 2016-2017.
Dijon FCO 1-0 LOSC
Dijon captain Julio Tavares scored the only goal of the game as the Burgundy club beat LOSC 1-0 in a game both clubs finished with ten men. Dijon extended their impressive home unbeaten run to eight matches even though they were reduced to ten men in the 21st minute when former LOSC defender Hamza Mendyl was sent off for a kick to Luiz Araujo’s ribs. Two minutes into the second half Tavares struck when he smashed a right-footed shot past Mike Maignan. LOSC were frustrated in their attempts to get back on terms and are still stuck on one away win for the season. Christophe Galtier’s side’s hopes faded when Boubakary Soumaré was sent off for a second yellow card in the 67th minute. It was LOSC’s second straight league loss, following on from their 5-1 humiliation at Monaco at the end of 2019.