the merciless PSG against Montpellier

Neymar and Mbappé during the match against Montpellier, February 1.
Neymar and Mbappé during the match against Montpellier, February 1. GONZALO FUENTES / REUTERS

PSG made the powder speak against Montpellier (5-0), Saturday, February 1 at Parc des Princes, a large success just tarnished by the new discontent of Kylian Mbappé at the time of his exit in the second half while the PSG led largely to the score.

Traveling to Paris is already difficult for any team. They can sometimes even turn into ordeal, as the team of Michel Der Zakarian has bitter experience for this 22e day of Ligue 1, quickly reduced to ten and forced to play his third goalkeeper, before finishing nine.

Coming to the capital without Geronimo Rulli, their suspended goalkeeper, the Héraultais had entrusted the keys of their defense to the international Espoirs Dimitry Bertaud. Las, the 21-year-old goalkeeper was guilty very early of a hand error outside his area (17e) in front of Kylian Mbappé. His exclusion allowed Matis Carvalho to make his baptism of fire in Ligue 1. Not a gift for the young man, professional since this summer …

Substitutes Cavani and Icardi

Under these conditions, Paris did not have to force his talent, despite the cascade of absences which had decimated his defense. Thomas Tuchel had to build armor without Juan Bernat (calf), Marquinhos (hamstrings), Thiago Silva (groin) and Colin Dagba (knee), injured Wednesday in Pau and absent until early March. But its workforce, kept intact during the winter transfer window, is resourceful.

The German coach chose to align a rejuvenated central defense with Tanguy Kouassi and Presnel Kimpembe, appointed captain, and to install on the sides Thomas Meunier and Layvin Kurzawa, who remained in Paris despite very close contacts with Juventus Turin.

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However, it was the composition of the offensive lines that was most awaited. Would Tuchel maintain his confidence in Mauro Icardi, unable to score in the last five games? Or was he going to revive Edinson Cavani, restrained in his initial desires?

Neither. The two attackers took their places on the substitutes' bench, from where they could appreciate the Neymar show, between silky technical gestures and hair jokes (hair tinted in pink). If the Brazilian, left at rest this week in the Coupe de France, provided the show, it was mainly Pablo Sarabia who burst the screen at the start of the game.

Placed in the axis of attack, the Spanish winger made the entry nets tremble on a service by Kylian Mbappé, but the latter was offside (4e). Regardless, the left-hander recurred just after a splendid coiled strike, with the right foot and from outside the area (8th).

Sarabia in great shape

Already a scorer at Pau in the Coupe de France on Wednesday, the 27-year-old international has stacked goals since arriving in Paris last summer from Sevilla FC. Its counter displays ten, all competitions combined. Trained at Real Madrid, the small attacking midfielder (1.78 m) has also made a specialty of assists. He demonstrated it again on Saturday on the goal of 2-0, sending Angel Di Maria to realize his "Special", a small dive above the opposing goalkeeper (41e).

Montpellier, fourth at kickoff, has never been able to recover from this catastrophic start. Unhappy, the Pailladins drank the cup before the break on an improbable goal against his camp of Daniel Congré (45e). In the second half, there was no miracle for the visitors, defeated by new goals from Mbappé (57e) and Kurzawa (65e).

Tuchel took advantage of the situation to blow Marco Verratti, Sarabia and Mbappé, who came out almost twenty minutes from the final whistle. Obviously, this choice did not appeal at all to the young world champion who, face closed, had a lively explanation with his coach when leaving the field.

At a press conference, Tuchel deeply regretted the attitude of the French international. “These are not good images, but we are not the only club that has this kind of reaction. I saw him with Dortmund today. It’s not good because it opens up subjects, it’s a distraction, reacted the Parisian coach. I am not angry but I am sad because it is not necessary. "

"I'm the coach, someone has to decide. It will stay like this: I will always decide sportily. We don't play tennis, we play soccer, we have to have respect for everyone. "

The coaching of the German technician, less than three weeks before traveling to Dortmund in the Champions League, had previously allowed the Parc des Princes to see again at work his darling, Cavani, ovationed at his entry into play. Eager to join the Atlético this winter, the top scorer in the history of PSG could see that his popularity had not changed an iota in Paris. A consolation prize for the "Matador".

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The results of the 22nd day of Ligue 1

Friday January 31

Rennes – Nantes: 3 – 2

Saturday February 1

PSG – Montpellier: 5 – 0

Amiens – Toulouse: 0 – 0

Strasbourg – Lille: 1 – 2

Nîmes – Monaco: 3 – 1

Dijon – Brest: 3 – 0

Angers – Reims: 1 – 4

Sunday February 2

Nice – Lyon (3 p.m.)

Metz – Saint-Etienne (5 p.m.)

Bordeaux – Marseille (9 p.m.)


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