Strasbourg made it a difficult return to Ligue 1 action for Paris Saint-Germain, as the league leaders looked to be heading for a nervy, gritty draw, until none other than Kylian Mbappé came up with a late winner from the spot.
It was a Brazilian link-up to open the scoring, as Marquinhos converted from Neymar’s free-kick from wide – the pair had only returned to training on Thursday after disappointment with their national team in Qatar. Despite Kylian Mbappé’s incisive play, it was Strasbourg who would carve out the most clear-cut chances for the rest of the half, Gianluigi Donnarumma notably denying Kévin Gameiro a close-range goal against his former club.
Julien Stéphan’s men, though, would come roaring back in the second half, with Adrien Thomasson making the most of a rare Verratti error to finish from a tight angle, his shot deflected by Marquinhos. The Alsatians’ confidence then grew, spurred on by a fantastic Matz Sels save in a one-on-one situation with Kylian Mbappé afterwards.
It went from bad to worse for the champions shortly afterwards, as Neymar picked up two yellow cards in as many minutes – the first for a minor foul in the middle of the pitch, the second for a needless dive in the box. Strasbourg looked to have successfully frustrated the Parisians, until Mbappé was played through on goal and brought down. The referee blew for a penalty, despite Marquinhos putting the ball in the net shortly afterwards, and the striker confidently dispatched from the spot, as he had done thrice ten days earlier.
Gianluigi Donnarumma, 6
Nordi Mukiele, 6
Marquinhos, 6 – The captain looked to put World Cup disappointment behind him as he scored the opener, and was putting in a solid defensive performance to back that up – before he deflected in the equaliser from Thomasson’s shot.
Sergio Ramos, 6
El Chadaille Bitshiabu, 7 – An unexpected first start for the 17-year-old, who looked very capable defensively on the left side, albeit understandably unable to have the same attcking impact as the likes of Juan Bernat and Nuno Mendes. Replaced by World Cup semi-finalist Achraf Hakimi at the end of the game.
Fabián Ruiz, 5
Marco Verratti, 6 – His team’s best midfielder, leading the way and constantly moving play forward. Up to the occasion on the night his contract extension to 2026 was announced, even if he did lose the ball in the build-up to Strasbourg’s equaliser
Neymar, 4 – The number 10 looked as though he was continuing his pre-World Cup form – and had recovered from heartbreak at the World Cup. After assisting Marquinhos’ opener and linking up well with Mbappé, he was sent off on the hour mark after picking up two needless yellows.
Kylian Mbappé, 7 – A slightly mifiring but determined performance from the World Cup’s top scorer, who constantly broke away down the left and threatened a shaky Strasbourg defence. His perseverance paid off as he scored the winner from the spot.
Hugo Ekitike, 4 – Despite finding the net for the first time in the last outing, the young forward is still finding his feet in Paris – some clumsy pieces of play in the box in spite of his good positioning prevented him from finding the net. Replaced by Carlos Soler with 20 minutes to go.
Matz Sels, 6 – A vital save in a one-on-one situation against Kylian Mbappé was a turning point when the hosts were still up to their full complement.
Ismaël Doukouré, 6
Gerzino Nyamsi, 5
Alexander Djiku, 6
Lucas Perrin, 5
Sanjin Prcić, 6
Jean-Ricner Bellegarde, 5
Habib Diarra, 5
Adrien Thomasson, 6 – A rugged performance from the midfielder, who will have been a game changer in more ways than one as he continuously frustrated Neymar – eventually leading to the first of the Brazilian’s two yellow cards – having seen his cross deflected in for the equaliser beforehand.
Kévin Gameiro, 6 – Came close to scoring on his return to the Parc des Princes, but was denied by an imposing Gianluigi Donnarumma. Nevertheless a hardworking performance, replaced with ten minutes to go by Habib Diallo.
Ludovic Ajorque, 4
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin