PSG dropped points for the first time this season as they were forced to come from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Monaco in Ligue 1. The defending champions hit the woodwork three times at Parc des Princes, but it was a Neymar penalty that earned them a point in a fractious clash in Paris.
The visitors took a shock lead after 20-minutes when Kevin Volland ran onto a through ball and fired a composed finish into the bottom corner just inside the box. It was no more than they deserved though, having frustrated the Parisians with a high press that did not afford their glittering strikeforce any time on the ball.
PSG struggled for a response, and did not test goalkeeper Alexander Nubel until the 31st minute when Kylian Mbappe had a tame shot saved. The Monaco goal was soon living a charged life though, as Lionel Messi rattled the woodwork with a fierce 25-yard shot that bounced out to Mbappe, who diverted the rebound onto the opposite post.
The French international was guilty of some uncharacteristically poor finishing throughout the night against his former club, spurning a further two chances shortly after half-time. He was then further thwarted by Nubel, who made a stunning block at his near post, before Renato Sanchesz blasted the rebound just wide.
PSG eventually equalised from the penalty spot, with the referee awarding a spot kick through VAR after originally waving away Neymar’s appeals for a trip by Guillermo Maripan. The Brazilian dusted himself down and deftly slotted into the bottom corner to make it 1-1, and the hosts then laid siege on the Monaco goal, but the closest they came to a winner was through Achraf Hakimi’s drilled 25-yard shot that clattered the post, while Mbappe had a further shot saved.
TALKING POINT – SHOULD NEYMAR HAVE SEEN RED?
Neymar is renowned for not having the best temperament, but even by his own standards the striker lost his head in the first half, earning a yellow card after just five minutes for petulantly shoving Volland to the ground when he felt he should have been awarded a free-kick.
The Brazilian then somehow escaped a second booking midway through the first-half when he made little attempt to play the ball as he careered into Mohamed Camara, with the referee awarding only a foul.
The 25-year old, who has already been sent off eight times in his young career and would surely have been handed another booking if the incident had been after the break, then played a key role in getting PSG back into the game, much to the frustration of Monaco.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Axel Disasi (Monaco). It is never easy playing against that formidable PSG strikeforce of Neymar, Mbappe and Messi, but Disasi barely put a foot wrong in a superb defensive display.
The 24-year old, who started his career with Paris FC, made a string of fine blocks, particularly in the first half when he threw himself in front of Mbappe’s point blank range effort and managed to divert it away from goal.
On top of that, he also made numerous interceptions and timely interventions as PSG threw the kitchen sink at Monaco in the final 20-minutes, but they were unable to find their way past a team who defended excellently as a unit throughout the evening.
PSG: Donnarumma 7; Ramos 6, Marquinhos 7, Kimpembe 7; Hakimi 6, Verratti 6; Sanchez 5, Nuno Mendes 6; Messi 5, Mbappe 5, Neymar 6. Subs: Danilo 6, Sarabia n/a, Mukiele n/a
MONACO: Nubel 8; Aguilar 7, Disasi 8, Maripan 7, Badiashile 7, Henrique 7, Camara 7, Golovin 8, Fofana 7, Volland 8, Ben Yedder 6. Subs: Akliouche 7, Minamino 6, Embolo 6, Lucas n/a
20’ GOAL! PSG 0-1 MONACO (Volland). Volland breaks onto an inch perfect ball and finishes in a composed fashion, finding the bottom corner from just inside the box!
45’ WOODWORK RATTLED TWICE! Wow! Messi hits the post with a stunning strike from distance, and then Mbappe manages to get a foot on the rebound and rattles the woodwork himself. The Monaco goal is living a charmed life!
59’ STUNNING SAVE FROM NUBEL. That is incredible from the goalkeeper! A tackle on Messi sees the ball run through to Mbappe who has a thumping drive blocked at the near post by Nubel. Renato Sanchez then smashes the rebound just wide
61’ NEYMAR FIRES OVER AN EMPTY NET! A mix-up in the Monaco defence sees two defender and the ‘keeper converge on a long ball over the top. It breaks to Neymar, 25-yards out, but he blasts over the empty net first time
70’ GOAL! PSG 1-1 MONACO (Neymar). The referee awards a penalty for a trip on Neymar by Maripan, but only after consulting VAR. The Brazilian then steps up and coolly slots home the equaliser
75’ HAKIMI SMASHES THE WOODWORK. What an effort! The wingback picks up a loose ball 25-yards out and drills a shot towards the bottom corner, but it clatters off the post and bounces to safety