Sunday, December 5, 2021

Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Angers: Mbappe spot on to snatch victory for Pochettino

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 15 Oct 2021

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A late penalty from Kylian Mbappe saw Paris Saint-Germain come from a goal down and beat Angers 2-1 at Parc des Princes on Friday.

Danilo Pereira’s header after 69 minutes – their 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 muster against a side who have not beaten the capital club in 22 league meetings.

That was until the 87th minute, when Mbappe swept home from the spot after a VAR check for handball against Pierrick Capelle.

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.

Another mazy run from Boufal had PSG worried, but they did not learn their lesson, and it was the former Southampton man’s expert 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 review.

Mbappe stepped up and slid the ball confidently to Paul Bernardoni’s left, ending his four-game goal drought in the top flight.

What does it mean? Leaders still looking light on inspiration

While they were missing Neymar, Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria – 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.

That said, 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 deserved better

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 team-mate.

His cross for Fulgini was excellent and he even attempted to lob Donnarumma from around 45 yards out, such was his level of confidence.

Pochettino digs deep into reserves

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 momentum in a lacklustre contest.

What’s next?

PSG host RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday before next Sunday’s Classique away to Marseille.

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