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Montpellier stun PSG

Publish on 30/04/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS

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Montpellier Hérault SC kept their European hopes alive with a stunning 3-2 win over embattled champions Paris Saint-Germain at the Stade de la Mosson on Tuesday night.

Montpellier Hérault SC 3-2 Paris Saint-Germain

THE MATCH

With Stade Rennais FC having beaten PSG in Saturday's Coupe de France final, Montpellier welcomed the recently-crowned French champions to the Stade de la Mosson knowing that fourth was now the target for European qualification - not fifth - and they played with fitting urgency, although it was Paris who took the lead. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting - playing up front in place of the suspended Kylian Mbappé - sent Juan Bernat down the wing, and the Spaniard's subsequent cross was turned past home goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte by his left-back, Ambroise Oyongo (12'). La Paillade dominated the rest of the half, though. Marquinhos was at full-stretch to stop Andy Delort's lob from finding strike partner Gaëtan Laborde (19'), and Montpellier deservedly found a way through minutes later, Damien Le Tallec's header from a set piece taking a deflection off Presnel Kimpembe and deceiving Lecomte's opposite number, Gianluigi Buffon (22'). The Italian legend - arguably the greatest goalkeeper to have ever pulled on a pair of gloves - made some amends later in the half, pushing a thumping Delort shot around the post (30') before keeping a second Le Tallec effort out (31'). PSG were lucky not to be trailing at the interval, though, with Delort making a hash of a scissor-kick when he had the goal at his mercy (43').

Montpellier make sure

Paris coach Thomas Tuchel shuffled his deck at half-time, with left-back Layvin Kurzawa replacing Choupo-Moting and Neymar Jr. leading the line. Neymar was one of four players who played 120 minutes against Rennes at the Stade de France last Saturday, but the capital club nonetheless looked sprightlier for the change, and retook the lead just past the hour. Angel Di Maria got the break of the ball in the Montpellier box and did magnificently to spin past Lecomte before poking the ball home into the empty goal he had created with his skill (63'). Pedro Mendes then saved Lecomte after the goalkeeper had been beaten by Julian Draxler (71') and there was still some fight left in Michel Der Zakarian's side. Florent Mollet's short corner deflected into the path of Delort and the forward - who had been a doubt for this game due to a hamstring injury picked up in training - fired high of Buffon's goal when he could really have made it 2-2 (74'). There was nothing wrong with his finish little more than five minutes later, though. Lecomte picked up possession in his box, one long throw and first-time pass from Mollet later and Delort was bearing down on Buffon's goal, and he took his 14th goal of the season with aplomb, finishing into the far corner (80'). The hosts then snatched all three points when Ellyes Skhiri mugged Leandro Paredes of possession in the PSG box, allowing Souleymane Camara to steer home the winner from close range (85').

THE PLAYER: Andy Delort

Delort had not even been expected to start this game, but passed a late fitness test to begin up front alongside Laborde. Der Zakarian's gamble paid off. As well as grabbing the equaliser, Delort had a further four shots on goal - a game-high - and even won an impressive 21 of his one-on-ones before making way for Camara late on.

THE STAT: 5

Montpellier only have five points to make up on AS Saint-Etienne who occupy what is the fourth, and now final, European place, with 12 points left to play for. Der Zakarian's side head to Les Verts' Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in two weeks' time for a veritable European six-pointer. Having beaten the champions, perhaps they can dare to dream of a return to continental competition after a six-year hiatus after all?

 

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