Thursday, April 25, 2024

Kylian Mbappe heads for stands after half-time exit in draw with Monaco

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Mar 2024

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Kylian Mbappe was substituted at half-time as runaway Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain were held to a goalless draw at his former club Monaco.

France star Mbappe, who is set leave PSG in the summer, waved to home supporters at Stade Louis II as he emerged from the tunnel to take a seat in the stands for the second period.

The 25-year-old forward had little impact on the opening 45 minutes and it was unclear whether his premature departure was due to an injury.

He was pictured grimacing and holding his right leg at one stage.

Mbappe was also withdrawn by head coach Luis Enrique 25 minutes from time in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Rennes.

PSG were indebted to a string of first-half saves from goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in securing a stalemate which extends their lead over second-placed Brest to 12 points.

Monaco, who also hit the crossbar through Wissam Ben Yedder in the second half, remain third, a point behind Brest.

Yet the major talking point centred on PSG captain Mbappe, who opted against sitting alongside team-mates after being replaced by Randal Kolo Muani.

The reigning French champions arrived in the principality seeking to return to winning ways having required a last-gasp Goncalo Ramos penalty to salvage a point at home to Rennes five days ago.

Enrique’s side were second best for much of the opening period.

Impressive Italy international Donnarumma repelled former Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun early on before producing two fine saves to deny ex-Liverpool man Takumi Minamino.

PSG also survived a major scare in the 25th minute when the hosts had the ball in the net. Monaco captain Ben Yedder coolly rounded Donnarumma and rolled home after the lively Balogun caused problems for the visitors’ defence, only to be flagged offside.

Marco Asensio, who limped off injured before the break, had PSG’s best chance of the first half but he directed his effort too close to Monaco keeper Radoslaw Majecki.

Following the headline-grabbing scenes of Mbappe walking around the stadium’s running track to take up position among the crowd, PSG actually looked a greater threat.

However, they narrowly escaped just before the hour mark when Ben Yedder cracked the woodwork with a sizzling volley.

Poland international Majecki was busier in the second period and produced a strong save to deny PSG midfielder Vitinha.

Despite applying sustained late pressure, the away team could not snatch victory as they switch focus to their Champions League last-16 second leg at Real Sociedad amid question marks over Mbappe.

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