Mbappe taken off at half-time as PSG held at Monaco

Published March 3, 2024
MONACO: Kylian Mbappe (C) of Paris St Germain vies for the ball with Monaco’s Guillermo Maripan (L) and goalkeeper Radoslaw Majecki during their Ligue 1 match at Stade Louis II.—AFP
MONACO: Kylian Mbappe (C) of Paris St Germain vies for the ball with Monaco’s Guillermo Maripan (L) and goalkeeper Radoslaw Majecki during their Ligue 1 match at Stade Louis II.—AFP

MONACO: Coach Luis Enrique said he took Kylian Mbappe off “for the good of the team” as the France captain was substituted at half-time in Paris Saint-Germain’s 0-0 draw away to Monaco at Stade Louis II on Friday.

Mbappe was not injured and emerged from the PSG dressing room at the start of the second half in a tracksuit, smiling and talking on the phone before taking a seat in the stand to watch the remainder of the game.

Without him, PSG were perhaps fortunate to leave the principality with a draw which nevertheless allowed them to move to 55 points, 12 clear of second-placed Brest, who are in action on Sunday.

They edge a step closer to retaining the French title, but the focus for Luis Enrique’s side is principally on Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg away to Real Sociedad, into which they take a 2-0 lead from the first meeting last month.

It remains to be seen what role Mbappe will play in that game, given that he has now either started on the bench or been replaced in each of his club’s three matches since he told the Qatar-owned club he would leave at the end of this season.

“It was 100 percent the coach’s decision, because sooner or later we will have to get used to playing without Kylian Mbappe,” Luis Enrique said. “I took this decision for the good of the team.

Mbappe informed PSG in mid-February that he intended to depart when his contract expires in June, after seven years at the Parc des Princes, with Real Madrid his likely next destination.

Despite the visitors dominating possession, Monaco came closest to opening the scoring during the first half, with PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma keeping the hosts at bay.

PSG looked more dangerous in the second half, but Bradley Barcola and Vitinha could not find a way past keeper Radoslaw Majecki.

The result leaves Monaco, still winless at home this year, third with 42 points, although their Cote d’Azur rivals Nice can climb above them with a win at Toulouse on Sunday.

Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2024

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