BEVERLY HILLS, November 20, (THEWILL) – Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain let a two-goal lead against Monaco slip as Kevin Volland’s second-half brace and a late Cesc Fabregas penalty secured a remarkable 3-2 comeback at Stade Louis II on Friday.
Keylor Navas in goal for the visitors had to be alert in the early stages to paw away Volland’s powerful free-kick as PSG started sluggishly and the forward gave early indications of what he intended.
PSG did forge ahead after 28 minutes, courtesy of their first shot on target. Kylian Mbappe latched onto Angel Di Maria’s through-ball, zoomed off and away from defender Axel Disasi and coolly lifted over Vito Mannone from 15 yards.
The 21-year-old made it double eight minutes before the break when he powered past Mannone from the penalty spot after central midfielder Youssouf Fofana had fouled Rafinha while attempting to block a cross.
The visitors’ solid pressing saw Moise Kean and Mbappe denied efforts to increase the gap as these efforts were ruled out by VAR for offside. Mbappe also crashed a header against the crossbar before half-time as PSG threatened to run riot.
Sharp reflexes from Navas kept the lead of the French champions going. He made a wonderful save after the restart to keep out Volland’s header from a corner and seemed to stand between everything Monaco produced and the net.
However, there was little he could do to prevent Volland from tapping home to cut down the deficit after 52 minutes.
The mercurial Volland then drew Monaco level in the 65th minute. Substitute Cesc Fabregas met a whipped cross from midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni and clipped it sideways across the PSG goal as Navas rushed out to close him out. This allowed Volland to tap into an empty net.
When in the 84th minute the referee awarded Monaco a penalty, it was a chance for the hosts to seal the most unlikely of three points. Defender Abdou Diallo lost possession and as the menace Volland pounced and headed towards goal, Diallo panicked and pulled him back.
Referee Clement Turpin who had initially issued a yellow card for the foul went for a pitchside review before upgrading it to a red and further compounding Diallo’s misery and PSG’s defensive integrity.
Fabregas stepped up and slammed in from 12 yards. It ended 3-2 as Monaco celebrated their first league win in eight attempts against the French champions.
Nico Kovac’s charges, who appeared beaten at half time, produced one of the most memorable turnarounds in recent Ligue 1 history to leave the champions stunned. They were good value for the victory, too.
It was so remarkable that it is only the third time the hosts have beaten PSG in their last 17 Ligue 1 matches, while the Parisians, who substituted Mbappe when the game was in the balance, are left to rue a first domestic defeat since the 1-0 loss to Marseille on September 13.
Fabregas was crucial to the victory. Introduced at half-time, 33-year-old scored the late winner, registered three shots, made a joint game-high three key passes, one of which led to Volland’s second, and put in two successful crosses, more than any of his team-mates.
PSG will next face RB Leipzig in a crunch Champions League Group H clash on Tuesday before returning to domestic action at home to Bordeaux on Saturday. Monaco, meanwhile, host Nimes next Sunday.