Perfect PSG record finished by Monaco, Sanchez on target in Marseille win
Paris (AFP) – Neymar scored from the penalty spot but Paris Saint-Germain’s perfect start to the season in France ended in a 1-1 draw against Monaco on Sunday, while Alexis Sanchez scored his first goals for Marseille in a 3-0 win at Nice.
In Paris, Neymar scored his eighth goal in five appearances this season on a penalty awarded when VAR alerted the on-field referee to a foul on the Brazilian by Monaco defender Guillermo Maripan midway through the second half.
Monaco had taken the lead when Kevin Volland burst in, holding off Presnel Kimpembe, before shooting past Gianluigi Donnarumma 20 minutes later at the Parc des Princes.
The Principality team played well, but PSG deserved at least a draw in a game in which they touched the woodwork three times.
However, the result slightly shatters their momentum after a start to the season in which they had won their first three league matches, scoring 17 goals in the process.
They also beat Nantes 4-0 in the season-opening Champions Trophy, but Monaco were by far the most accomplished side they had faced to date.
“We struggled in the first half against a European-level opponent but we deserved to win the game based on our performance in the second half,” PSG coach Christophe Galtier told Amazon Prime broadcaster. .
PSG have 10 points from four games and are top of Ligue 1, but only on goal difference from Lens and Marseille.
Volland silenced the home crowd when he raced to pull Monaco ahead, although it was to be his last involvement as he was injured while shooting.
PSG were denied an equalizer on the stroke of halftime in remarkable fashion, as Lionel Messi smashed a long-range shot to the left post, before Kylian Mbappe hit the opposite post of the rebound.
Monaco were also grateful to goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel for saving Neymar from close range after the restart, but PSG equalized 20 minutes from time as Mbappe left the penalties to his Brazilian team-mate.
“The order was Kylian number one and Neymar number two but I saw they had an exchange and Neymar spoke to Kylian before taking the penalty,” Galtier said.
PSG then had chances to claim all three points, with Achraf Hakimi’s ferocious shot hitting the post in the 74th minute, before Nuebel denied Mbappe late.
– The Arsenal de Marseille connection –
Sanchez scored a first-half brace as Marseille cruised to victory at Nice to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
The Chilean former Arsenal star, who signed a one-year contract after leaving Inter Milan, opened the scoring in the 10th minute, shooting into the roof of the net past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
On-loan Arsenal winger Nuno Tavares made it 2-0 in the 37th minute, his low shot from outside the box beating Schmeichel to the near post.
It was his third goal in four games since arriving on loan from the Gunners, and Sanchez then followed to make it 3-0 before the break after a Tavares shot was parried.
Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pepe failed to make an impact for Nice on his debut after also signing on loan from Arsenal.
Elsewhere, Junya Ito became the third Japanese player to score a Ligue 1 goal as Reims drew 1-1 with Lyon.
Signed from Belgian club Genk last month, Ito took charge of Reims in the first half to follow in the footsteps of compatriots Daisuke Matsui and Hiroki Sakai by scoring in Ligue 1.
Reims had Dion Lopy sent off in the second half and couldn’t hold on as Moussa Dembele equalized late in the game.
Meanwhile, Montpellier recorded their biggest ever top-flight away win, hammering Brest 7-0 to Brittany.
Elye Wahi and Valere Germain both netted a brace, while Pierre Lees-Melou was sent off for Brest, whose coach Michel Der Zakarian was previously in charge of Montpellier.
“I’ve already taken two paracetamol and I’m going to take two more,” Der Zakarian said.
There were also victories for Nantes, Lorient and Troyes. Lens beat Rennes 2-1 on Saturday.