Mbappé stars as PSG beat Monaco to lift cup
Paris Saint-Germain won a fifth successive Coupe de la Ligue with Kylian Mbappé playing the starring role and Edinson Cavani scoring twice in their 3-0 defeat of AS Monaco on Saturday.
Saturday, 31 March, 2018
Coupe de la Ligue final
Stade Matmut Atlantique, Bordeaux
Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 AS Monaco
Beaten 4-1 in the 2016/17 final, Monaco were determined to avoid a repeat this time round with the teams reunited in Bordeaux's Matmut Atlantique for the showpiece occasion, the fifth time they had met with a trophy at stake. The Ligue 1 Conforama champions, however, had to attempt to cope with Mbappé, who clearly hoped to make an impression against the side he left only last summer.
A sizzling early burst of pace signalled his intent to wreak havoc, and it was followed by a breathtaking surge past three defenders before Kamil Glik cut across him and sent him tumbling to the turf. Referee Clément Turpin resorted to VAR to help him confirm his initial decision to point to the spot, and Edinson Cavani scored even though Danijel Subasic got a hand to his well-struck effort (8').
Rampant, Unai Emery's men soon made it two. The move started with Dani Alves in a tight spot near his own goal, but the Brazil international, who captained his nation in their win over Germany in midweek, found an outlet in Mbappé. He streaked forward before sending a pass that bisected the Monaco defence to Angel Di Maria, who fired between Subasic and the near post (21').
Monaco had recovered from an early goal to level before fading last year, and Leonardo Jardim's side attempted to get a foothold in the game. Radamel Falcao shot over (28') and Rony Lopes went desperately close after chipping Kevin Trapp in a one-on-one duel (34') before VAR denied Falcao a goal — the Colombia international was rightly ruled to have been offside in the move leading to his strike (37').
There would have been no replay needed before that had Cavani tucked away an Mbappé pass (35'), and Trapp and Subasic then traded saves — the German with a double stop from Lopes and Thomas Lemar (41'), the Croat denying Julian Draxler (44') — as the two teams slugged it out blow for blow.
A timely Djibril Sidibé block denied Di Maria a third (48') before Lopes came within a handful of centimetres of pulling one back, but the in-form attacking midfielder, who had scored eight goals in his last nine outings, saw his measured curling effort graze the top of the crossbar (56').
Subasic had to rush to smother at the feet of Mbappé (58'), who then clipped a shot across goal from an acute angle as he terrorised his former team-mates. He did so again when he brought down Adrien Rabiot's crossfield ball, and then played in Cavani — the prolific Uruguayan swept home, but the offside flag cut short his celebrations (74').
Monaco's cause was not helped by Joao Moutinho's injury-enforced departure on a stretcher (78'), but there was no mercy shown by Cavani, who had netted on his 100th appearance for his country during the international break. Again, Mbappé's acceleration left Monaco's rearguard in tatters, and Cavani's deft touch created enough space for him to fire low beyond a powerless Subasic (85').
THE PLAYER: Kylian Mbappé
It could only be the 19-year-old prodigy, who haunted the club that had first nurtured his talent from kick-off to final whistle. The only thing lacking from his performance was a goal, but even that did not detract from a stunning, decisive display. Monaco can only be thankful they did not have to cope with Neymar Jr too.
THE STAT: 35
Cavani has netted 35 goals in all competitions for PSG this season, and is now second in the Coupe de la Ligue's chart of all-time scorers with 14.