Brest 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain: Mbappe spares PSG blushes
Kylian Mbappe scored a late winner as Paris Saint-Germain beat Brest 2-1 in Ligue on Saturday, but their performance was not an emphatic response to Champions League elimination.
PSG appeared to be limping to a 1-1 draw at Stade Francis-Le Ble, which would have been a major disappointment after defeat to Bayern Munich, only for Mbappe to step up and spare their blushes.
Carlos Soler had put PSG in front late in the first half, but Brest arguably played the better football and were good value for Franck Honorat's excellent equaliser.
A commendable point looked set to be Brest's reward for a spirited display, though Lionel Messi and Mbappe linked up in the 90th minute to put PSG 11 points clear.
PSG quickly established control and almost took an early lead.
Despite a comical air kick, Messi managed to nudge the ball to Soler while stumbling, and the Spaniard saw his attempt pushed onto the post by Marco Bizot.
Bizot could not deny Soler in the 37th minute, however, the midfielder smashing home after Mbappe's long-range strike was parried.
But PSG were soon pegged back.
The lively Honorat brought down Romain Del Castillo's lofted throughball and held off Sergio Ramos and Timothee Pembele, before emphatically finishing beyond Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Honorat turned provider 10 minutes after half-time, but Lilian Brassier's wayward header failed to do the pinpoint delivery justice.
PSG's desperation soon began to spawn chances. Bizot pushed a Messi curler wide, while Mbappe spurned two opportunities.
The two later combined to seal the points, however.
Mbappe broke the offside trap to collect Messi's pass and he slotted home after rounding the helpless Bizot.
What does it mean? Mbappe or bust as PSG test their luck
PSG coach Christophe Galtier will have wanted a forceful response to the Bayern defeat, and although he ultimately got the three points, this was hardly a performance that will appease the critics.
Brest played the more eye-catching football for periods on Saturday, and the eventual Mbappe winner practically came out of nowhere – PSG had created chances, but at that point in the game they had almost looked resigned to dropping points.
Of course, it pays to have the quality of Messi and Mbappe in your starting XI – in Ligue 1, anyway.
Messi pulls the strings
Nobody would try to claim Messi was at his best here, but if PSG were ever going to pull a result out of the hat, he always looked likely to be the inspiration.
His perfectly timed throughball for the winner was his sixth key pass of the game, at least three more than anyone else on the pitch.
Dari's concentration does him a disservice
Unfortunately for Brest, Achraf Dari's lack of concentration late on proved costly, and it was a particular shame because he had been so good until then.
He reacted late when trying to catch Mbappe offside, and the striker punished him. Beforehand, he had made a match-high eight clearances, seemingly in the right place and the right time until that late lapse.
Key Opta Facts
- Paris Saint-Germain are the 12th team to reach 3,000 goals in Ligue 1 history. PSG have reached this milestone in their 1,858th top-flight game.
- Kylian Mbappe has equalled (138 goals in 165 games) Edinson Cavani (138 in 200 games) as PSG's most prolific player in Ligue 1.
- PSG have won 66 points after 27 games in Ligue 1 2022-23, a tally only reached by themselves in the three points for a win era (73 in 2015-16, 71 in 2017-18, 74 in 2018-19 and 68 in 2019/20, winning the title each time).
- PSG have won six of their last seven Ligue 1 games, losing only against Monaco away from home in February (1-3).
- Brest have lost four of their last five Ligue 1 games (W1), after being unbeaten in their previous five (W1 D4).
PSG host Rennes a week on Sunday, when Brest face fellow strugglers Troyes.