3 minute read
26 Aug 2018
11:12 am

‘MCN’ combine as Tuchel’s PSG continue perfect start to season


Kylian Mbappe again made a decisive contribution as Paris Saint-Germain's superstar front three combined for the goals in a 3-1 win over Angers in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (L) and Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe react at the end of the French L1 football match Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) vs Angers (SCO), on August 25, 2018 at the Parc des Princes in Paris. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE

On his first start since winning the World Cup with France last month, Mbappe volleyed in PSG’s crucial second goal just after the break at the Parc des Princes, and he then set up Neymar for the goal that clinched the points.

Before that, Edinson Cavani had marked his first appearance of the season with an early opener, only for Thomas Mangani’s penalty to bring Angers back level midway through the first half.

This was a third win in as many games for PSG to start their defence of the French title, and seeing all three members of his ‘MCN’ attack find the net will have been a source of great satisfaction for new coach Thomas Tuchel.

“It was a deserved victory but again it was difficult,” said Tuchel. “We are not fresh at the moment because we have been working so hard at training during the week.”

It was the first time in six months that Mbappe, Cavani and Neymar had all played together, with the latter having missed the end of last season due to injury.

Tuchel also selected Angel Di Maria in his starting line-up, with that quartet alone having cost the capital side well over 500 million euros ($581 million) in transfer fees in the last five years.

“For me at the moment it is very important to have ‘Ney’ on the field with the other three key attacking players in Angel, Kylian and ‘Edi’,” said Tuchel. “I want to find a position for all the players.”

The German coach also handed a debut to his compatriot, the young defender Thilo Kehrer, a recent 37 million-euro signing from Schalke 04.

To accommodate him as well as so many attacking talents, the former Borussia Dortmund coach lined his side up in an unusual 3-4-2-1 formation, and the early signs were promising enough.

A brilliant Thiago Silva interception on halfway led to Neymar sending a low ball across goal for Cavani to turn in a 12th-minute opener, and the Uruguayan headed off the post from another Neymar cross soon after.

– Kehrer’s difficult debut –

However, Angers got the chance to equalise when Kehrer brought down Flavien Tait in the box, a challenge that led to the defender being booked and the visitors winning a penalty.

Mangani duly slotted the spot-kick past Alphonse Areola, another French World Cup winner returning to the side, in his case at the expense of Gianluigi Buffon.

Not happy with his team’s display, Tuchel took off Kehrer at the interval, sending on youngster Stanley N’Soki and reverting to a back four.

“He is a very, very humble boy, he committed the foul for the penalty and then the referee said it was dangerous for him because he had committed a few fouls and was on a booking,” said Tuchel of his decision to replace Kehrer.

The alterations paid off as Mbappe restored the lead within six minutes of the restart, meeting Di Maria’s cross from the left with a superb volley into the far corner.

Mbappe was in the mood to thrill the Parc des Princes crowd, and he set up the third goal on 65 minutes, his cutback being turned in by Neymar for the Brazilian’s third of the season, as many as Mbappe.

Lyon, who will represent France in the Champions League along with PSG and Monaco, beat Strasbourg 2-0 on Friday with goals from Martin Terrier and Bertrand Traore.

Monaco are in action on Sunday at Bordeaux, who are hoping to name Arsenal and France great Thierry Henry as their new coach in the coming days, once Gustavo Poyet’s departure is confirmed.