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Bernat: 'I won't forget this day'

Publish on 16/10/2021 at 10:00

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Paris Saint-Germain left-back Juan Bernat has been through the wringer with an ACL injury over the last 13 months, but the Spaniard made a successful return to action off the bench on Friday as PSG came from behind to beat Angers 2-1 at the Parc des Princes.

Bernat's last appearance was way back in Ligue 1 Uber Eats Round 1 on 16 September 2020 - a 1-0 win over Metz - but on Friday night the Spain defender put a gruelling 13 months of rehab and false dawns behind him as he came on for Abdou Diallo just after the hour mark.

With Paris a goal down after Angelo Fulgini had stabbed home teen sensation Mohamed-Ali Cho's low cross (36'), it was no anodyne substitution made by PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino. The capital club - without South American Neymar, Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes, all of whom had only just returned from international duty - needed to get back to winning ways after their 2-0 loss to Rennes in Round 9 and Bernat held the course for his first appearance in 2021.

'Move forward'

"I won't forget this day anytime soon. After a year and a month out, I struggled a lot and had to work very hard to finally get to the other side of it. I played a few minutes today and I'm so happy to have been able to play in front of our fans. The way they welcomed me when I came on was incredible," said the 28-year-old former Bayern Munich man. "Thank you so much to everyone. Now I hope I can move forward and just enjoy playing football, because that's what I like doing most."

Minutes after Bernat came on, Kylian Mbappé provided a pinpoint cross for Danilo Pereira to head home the equaliser (69') before turning scorer from the spot after Angers' Pierrick Capelle was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area (87').

'We never stopped attacking'

It was another narrow win for the capital club after last-gasp victories over Metz and Lyon in Rounds 6 and 7, but Bernat was pleased with the cool heads and fighting spirit shown by his side.

"It was a really tough game. Angers caused us a lot of issues, they played very high up and it was hard to find space," admitted Bernat. "But we were able to to find the gaps in the second half and get the result and three points we wanted. We never stopped attacking and we managed to get the victory."

Paris Saint-Germain now enjoy a provisional nine-point lead atop the Ligue 1 Uber Eats standings as they turn their attentions to Tuesday's UEFA Champions League visit of RB Leipzig, which will give the capital club a chance to build on their stunning 2-0 win over Manchester City and take sole control of Group A. 

 

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