Credit: Arnaud 25
Leaders Paris Saint-Germain surrendered a two-goal lead away at Monaco to fall to their third league defeat of the season at the Stade Louis II. There had already been a couple of surprise results this season in Ligue 1 and there was another twist as Thomas Tuchel’s men fell to Niko Kovac’s young Monaco side, who cut the gap on them to four points as they moved into second place.
Tuchel left Neymar and Marquinhos on the bench ahead of their vital Champions League game against Leipzig on Tuesday. PSG started brightly, but it was Monaco’s Kevin Volland who had a powerful free-kick saved by Keylor Navas. The Parisians were to take the lead in the 25th minute; Kylian Mbappe smashed the ball into the top corner after collecting Angel Di Maria’s through ball. Monaco almost drew level when Layvin Kurzawa’s poor back header could only be headed over by Willem Geubbels. PSG’s lead was doubled in the 37th minute. Mbappe calmly converted a penalty into the bottom corner, after Youssouf Fofana had upended Rafinha.
Things could have got much worse for Monaco before the break. Moise Kean thought that he had made it 3-0, only for the goal to be disallowed. The decision seemed a really harsh one. Then just before half time, Mbappe was denied his hat-trick as he had a goal ruled out by VAR after a tight offside call, but this decision was indeed correct. Sandwiched between the two disallowed goals Kean continued to be a nuisance for the Monaco defenceand he hit the bar with a header.
Kovac brought on veteran Cesc Fabregas and Caio Henrique at half-time for Geubbels and Fode Toure, and the game was then flipped on its head as Fabregas and Volland took over. Fabregas rolled back the years with a game-changing display full of the nous he has displayed throughout his career. Volland had a simple finish to pull it back to 2-1 in the 52nd minute after good work by Gelson Martins. 13 minutes later; Fabregas’ smart run into the box saw him get to the ball just before Navas and Volland tapped in his second from two yards out. The game looked destined for a 2-2 draw when in the 84thminute Abdou Diallo was caught dwelling on the ball by Volland. Volland went into the box before being pulled down by Diallo who was then booked. After VAR had a look the yellow was upgraded to a red however. Fabregas despite Navas going the right way dispatched the second penalty of the game, and the comeback was complete.
(Cesc Fabregas celebrates with his teammates after his penalty sealed a 3-2 win over PSG. Image from ‘beinsports.com’)
So PSG’s 8-game league winning streak was brought to a holt, and full credit has to go to Kovac for the substitutions at the interval. Tuchel on the other hand needs to bounce back quickly. PSG’s huge Champions League game at home to Leipzig is a must-win, and one wonders if Tuchel will definitely still be in a job come the New Year should they fail to qualify from Group H. They currently sit third after three games and many questions will be asked after this second half capitulation.