Montpellier 1-3 Paris Saint-Germain: Neymar inspires late comeback

By Chris Myson 8 December 2019 22
Montpellier 1-3 Paris Saint-Germain: Neymar inspires late comeback

Neymar inspired a late Paris Saint-Germain comeback as the Ligue 1 leaders came from behind to defeat 10-man Montpellier 3-1 on Saturday.

PSG had lost on two of their previous three league trips to Stade de la Mosson, drawing the other, and looked set for another difficult outing following a poor first half that saw them lose two starters to injury prior to Leandro Paredes' own goal.

Montpellier beat PSG in April with a late turnaround but this time it was the visitors' turn to turn the tables in dramatic fashion.

Neymar won a set-piece that saw Pedro Mendes sent off and then sent the resulting 25-yard free-kick into the top-right corner with 16 minutes remaining.

Two minutes later, he set up Kylian Mbappe to finish impressively shortly before Mauro Icardi wrapped up the points to move PSG eight points clear of Marseille at the top.

There was an ugly end to the game, though, as PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas appeared to be hit by a bottle thrown from a section of the home supporters.

PSG lost Presnel Kimpembe and Idrissa Gueye to injury inside the opening 25 minutes. With Marquinhos, Marco Verratti and Ander Herrera already out, Abdou Diallo and 17-year-old debutant Nianzou Kouassi were the replacements.

Kouassi almost stretched to convert Neymar's in-swinging free-kick moments after his arrival as Geronimo Rulli made a superb diving save.

But it was Montpellier who opened the scoring four minutes before half-time when Daniel Congre headed a left-wing corner in off the hand of Paredes, a deflection that deceived Navas.

The second half started slowly until Rulli charged off his line to deny Sarabia before Mendes was sent off, receiving a second yellow card for scything down an advancing Neymar.

Neymar stepped up and delivered a magnificent, curling strike from the resulting free-kick, finding the top-right corner.

He then found Mbappe in PSG's next attack and the France striker cut inside from the left before arrowing a low finish into the far corner.

Neymar was rampant, hitting the woodwork with another free-kick, and he then combined with Mbappe, who produced a magnificent chip to set up Icardi with nine minutes left, the striker volleying in from eight yards.

What does it mean? Neymar gets PSG out of trouble

PSG have now won four straight Ligue 1 games and eight of their past nine, but Thomas Tuchel has openly admitted their form has been poor in attaining those results.

It was no different in this game as PSG looked devoid of ideas and energy for 70 minutes until the brilliance of Neymar, and later Mbappe, got them out of trouble.

Neymar nearly unplayable

Like PSG, Neymar was struggling to get into the flow of the game, but over the last 20 minutes he was almost unplayable.

He won the free-kick that changed the game, then scored it in brilliant fashion before assisting another, playing a part in the third goal, hitting the woodwork with yet another free-kick and forcing a great save from Rulli all in that last period of the contest.

Mendes makes mistake

Mendes' red card changed the game completely and he could have no arguments, surely rueing the fifth-minute yellow he had picked up for a foul on Juan Bernat.

Key Opta Facts

- Paris Saint-Germain have not drawn once in their past 19 games in Ligue 1 (W15 L4), their last draw coming in May 2019 against Nice (1-1).
- PSG have scored at least one goal in each of their past 27 away games in Ligue 1 (57 in all). This is the second-longest such run away from home in top-flight history behind Sedan (32 between 1957 and 1959).
- Neymar has scored each of his six goals in Ligue 1 this season after the 70th minute. No player has scored as many in the last half an hour of matches. This was also his first direct free-kick goal since March 2018 against Lille and his first league assist of the season.
- Kylian Mbappe (seven goals and four assists) has been involved in a goal every 58 minutes in Ligue 1 this season, the best ratio among players involved in more than one goal.
- Leandro Paredes is the first PSG player to concede an own goal in Ligue 1 since Presnel Kimpembe in April 2019 against… Montpellier. This is also the first goal conceded by PSG from a set-piece this season.

What's next?

PSG are at home to Galatasaray in the Champions League on Wednesday before travelling to play Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 business next Sunday. Montpellier are away to Lille on Friday.

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Chris Myson