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Late goal gives PSG a share of the spoils against Napoli

Tom Devlin by Tom Devlin @rfutbol - 0 1,092

Pin Di Maria got a late goal. AFP
Di Maria got a late goal. AFP

Late goal gives PSG a share of the spoils against Napoli

Tom Devlin by Tom Devlin @rfutbol - 0 1,092

The 90 minutes were up and PSG were staring down the barrel of a defeat that would put them third in the group and three points adrift of qualifying through to the next stage. Up stepped Angel di Maria to deliver them a priceless 2-2 draw at home to Napoli.

Napoli twice took the lead, before being pegged back on both occasions, on a wild night in Paris that had its fair share of action.

Perhaps that should have been expected when the teams were announced. Napoli have been known for some years for their fluid, attacking brand of football, and Thomas Tuchel opted to fight fire with fire.

Di Maria started. So did Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani as the French outfit looked to attack from the off. At first, it was working, they had all the early play and both Mbappe and Cavani missed good chances to open the scoring.

However, Napoli took the lead and the game was turned on its head. Lorenzo Insigne lofted the ball over Alphonse Areola after latching onto Jose Callejon’s ball and the away side were up. What followed next was a breathless 15 minutes that left the Frenchman desperate for the half-time whistle.

They were much-improved after the break, and can feel aggrieved to have had two penalty shouts turned down in quick succession. Mbappe and Cavani went down under pressure in the box, and the latter was particularly furious at not being awarded a spot kick.

Thankfully for the Uruguayan, the equalising goal came not long after. Thomas Meunier’s cross from the right was diverted into the back of the net by Mario Rui leaving David Ospina stranded and the Parisians were back on terms.

They pushed for the second, but Napoli’s defence held firm until from almost nothing, they found a way back in front. Marquinhos blocked a shot from range and the rebound fell to the feet of Dries Mertens at close range. He easily dispatched a finish past Areola.

Tuchel had earlier made his move by sending on Julian Draxler, but still the PSG attacking unit floundered. That was until Di Maria produced a piece of magic.

The Argentine has a propensity for goals from range and this was straight out of his book of favourites. The ball was played to him on the right about 20 yards from goal. He took a touch to set himself and curled a sublime effort into the far corner.

It was a crucial goal for PSG, who while still sitting third in the group, now find themselves within striking distance with games to remain against both sides above them. It will be a blow to Carlo Ancelotti’s side, but on the basis of this performance and the previous game against Liverpool, they are more than capable of upsetting the apple cart and nobody will relish facing them.

 

 

Tom Devlin

Tom Devlin

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