PSG held by Ligue 1 strugglers Clermont

PSG has won just three of its first seven league games and sits provisionally second in the table, a point behind surprise leader Brest.

Published : Sep 30, 2023 23:30 IST , PARIS - 3 MINS READ

Kylian Mbappe #7 of Paris Saint-Germain warms up before the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille at Parc des Princes on September 24, 2023, in Paris, France.
Kylian Mbappe #7 of Paris Saint-Germain warms up before the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille at Parc des Princes on September 24, 2023, in Paris, France. | Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Kylian Mbappe #7 of Paris Saint-Germain warms up before the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille at Parc des Princes on September 24, 2023, in Paris, France. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain warmed up for a trip to England to face Newcastle United in the Champions League by drawing 0-0 away to Ligue 1 strugglers Clermont on Saturday.

PSG coach Luis Enrique selected Kylian Mbappe in his starting line-up despite the France superstar having been an injury doubt during the week, but he endured a frustrating afternoon against in-form Clermont goalkeeper Mory Diaw and was booked for diving late on.

The reigning French champion had been hoping to build on impressive wins against Borussia Dortmund and Marseille in their last two outings, but this result confirms it is far from being a finished team under its new manager.

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“We tried to create and to win the match, but it was almost impossible to kick the ball in the right way because it was always bouncing, especially for the strikers when they tried to score,” Luis Enrique told broadcaster  Amazon Prime, with reference to a newly-laid pitch at Clermont’s Stade Gabriel-Montpied.

“I knew the pitch was new, they changed it three days ago, but we were unlucky to have to play on it in these conditions.”

PSG has won just three of its first seven league games and sits provisionally second in the table, a point behind surprise leader Brest.

Clermont had beaten the Parisians away in its final game of last season but came into this match bottom, and with just one point so far in this campaign.

It is still winless, but the unexpected point lifts it off the foot of the table on goal difference from Lyon, which plays on Sunday.

Mbappe shakes off injury 

Mbappe had been a doubt in the build-up to the game after coming off with an ankle injury against Marseille last weekend, but Luis Enrique resisted any temptation to rest his star player with Wednesday’s game at Newcastle in mind.

PSG’s top scorer was heavily involved, setting off on a lightning break down the left early on and providing a low pass for Ousmane Dembele, whose first-time shot was well saved by Diaw.

The Clermont goalkeeper, who was on the books at PSG as a youngster but never played a top-team game, then denied Mbappe, Randal Kolo Muani and Dembele again before the interval.

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Visiting goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was called into action a minute after the interval, producing a brilliant save on his line to deny Jamaican striker Shamar Nicholson and then seeing Yohann Magnin hit the post from the follow-up.

Most of the action was at the other end, however, with Mbappe hitting the outside of a post from a Dembele assist before being cautioned 10 minutes from time for throwing himself to the ground in the area.

Diaw saved his best for just after that incident as he managed to claw away a Goncalo Ramos effort despite going to ground early, and he rounded off his afternoon’s work with another crucial stop from a Danilo Pereira header.

New coach Gennaro Gattuso will take charge of Marseille for the first time, later on Saturday when it travels to Monaco.

On Friday, Lens won 1-0 away at Strasbourg thanks to an Elye Wahi goal as it warmed up for Tuesday’s home Champions League meeting with Arsenal.

Brest is away to third-placed Nice on Sunday.

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