Ligue 1: Mbappe’s late penalty snatches victory for PSG against Angers
Kylian Mbappe scored a late penalty to help Paris Saint-Germain come from a goal down and beat Angers 2-1 at Parc des Princes on Friday night in a Ligue 1 meeting.
Danilo Pereira’s header after 69 minutes which was PSG’s first shot on target of the contest, cancelled out a deserved opening goal from Angelo Fulgini, but it looked likely that would be all PSG would take from the match against a side who have not beaten the capital club in 22 league meetings.
That was until the 87th minute when Mbappe finished home from the penalty spot after a VAR check for handball against Angers’ Pierrick Capelle.
Angers forward Sofiane Boufal saw a half-volley saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma as Angers carried by far the greater first-half threat despite having just 28 per cent of the ball possession.
Another mazy run from Boufal had PSG worried, but they did not learn their lesson, and it was the former Southampton man’s curling cross from the right that gave Fulgini an easy finish for the opening goal.
PSG’s laboured performance continued after the break as they struggled badly to get Mauro Icardi involved, with Mbappe too often guilty of trying to pick his way through the Angers defence singlehandedly.
It was a more simple approach from Mbappe, a lofted left-footed cross from the right, that allowed Danilo to ghost in and nod home the equaliser.
Icardi, at last, had a sight of goal, and it proved decisive, his header from point-blank range striking the arm of Capelle and leading to a penalty after a VAR check.
Mbappe stepped up and slid the ball confidently to Paul Bernardoni’s left, ending his four-game goal drought in Ligue 1.
While they were missing Neymar, Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria – who were ruled out due to the late international fixtures in South America, with Sergio Ramos still yet to play a game for the club – PSG would still have been expected to produce a far slicker display against a side who have not beaten them since January 1975.
With stronger opposition to come in the next week, Pochettino will have cause for concern if there is not a substantial improvement.
With the match over, PSG are nine points clear at the top of Ligue 1, having played a game more than Lens in second. Angers sit fourth but could slide down the table this weekend.
Boufal was a livewire in an otherwise drab contest, the winger attempting nine dribbles in his 77 minutes on the pitch, at least twice as many as any teammate.
His cross for Fulgini was excellent and he even attempted to lob Donnarumma from around 45 yards out, such was his level of confidence.
Off the back of an international break, PSG will likely just be thankful to have won a match for which some of their star names were missing.
Pochettino deserves some credit for utilising his squad options, both in the starting line-up and from the bench, to wrestle back the momentum in a lacklustre contest.
Pochettino’s side will be back to action in the course of next when week when they host RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday night before next Sunday’s Classique away match to Marseille.