Kylian Mbappe rescued a late victory for Paris Saint-Germain on their return to Ligue 1 action as his injury-time penalty seized a 2-1 win against Strasbourg on Wednesday.
The league leaders had looked destined for a draw at Parc des Princes after captain Marquinhos had cancelled out his opener with an own goal and Neymar had been sent off for consecutive bookings.
But a 96th-minute spot-kick for the France international, just under a fortnight on from his hat-trick in defeat for France in the World Cup final, ensured his side avoided dropping points for the third time this season.
It marked a major reprieve for Christophe Galtier’s side, who were without Qatar 2022 winner Lionel Messi in the French capital, and struggled to convert their early dominance into a more comfortable result.
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) December 28, 2022
The home side enjoyed early dominance and took the lead in the 14th minute when Marquinhos was able to drift easily onto a Neymar free-kick from the left and head home.
Amid foul weather conditions, Strasbourg found a foothold in the game, and PSG’s complacency cost them in sharp fashion after the interval, with their captain accidentally diverting a cross from Adrien Thomasson past Gianluigi Donnarumma and into his own net.
Matters went from bad to worse shortly afterwards when Neymar was shown a yellow for clipping Thomasson’s face with his outstretched hand, before a dive from an Alexander Djiku challenge in the box just a minute later saw him given his marching orders.
His dismissal appeared to have exhausted the hosts’ capacity to snatch back momentum, but when Mbappe was deemed to have been downed in the penalty area by Gerzino Nyamsi four minutes into stoppage time, they were handed a lifeline.
Mbappe kept his composure, as he did on three occasions in the World Cup final, to spare his side’s blushes by scoring from the spot to keep PSG firmly at the summit and allowing them to end 2022 on a winning note.