Mbappé and Di Maria earn PSG first 2019-20 trophy
Kylian Mbappé and Angel Di Maria found the net as Paris Saint-Germain came from behind to win a seventh successive Trophée des Champions with a 2-1 defeat of Stade Rennais FC in China.
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Trophée des Champions, Shenzhen, China
PSG lined up without Neymar Jr, who was sitting out the last match of a three-game ban, but coach Thomas Tuchel did include new signings Pablo Sarabia, Ander Herrera and Abdou Diallo in his starting XI.
While Herrera's steadying presence in midfield was a main feature of the French champions' pre-season friendlies, Sarabia's set-pieces were another — an early free-kick by the summer arrival from Sevilla led to Thilo Kehrer thudding a header off the crossbar (11').
The Germany international, who struck in the defeat to Inter Milan a week ago, might have opened the scoring, instead it was Rennes who did so.
Julien Stéphan's men, who beat PSG in the Coupe de France final to earn their place in Shenzhen, worked the ball to Benjamin Bourigeaud — his cross was turned past Alphonse Areola by Adrien Hunou's deft left foot (13').
Sarabia tested Tomas Koubek in the Rennes goal (17') and then sent over another enticing free-kick (20') as PSG sought an immediate riposte.
Kehrer might have provided one had he been able to direct a Sarabia set-piece on target (30') while Rennes required Jérémy Morel — freshly arrived from Olympique Lyonnais — to charge down a powerful Mbappé drive to deny last season's Ligue 1 Conforama top scorer from seriously stretching Koubek (33').
Another block, this time from Damien Da Silva to a fierce Juan Bernat drive, preserved Rennes' advantage going into the break, but he could do nothing when Mbappé stole in behind him and Jérémy Gélin to equalise by getting on the end of a Sarabia cross just before the hour mark (57').
The France international forward, clearly with his tail up after scoring his fourth goal of the summer, then forced a good save from Koubek low to the Czech goalkeeper's right (62') before the Rennes number one pawed away a Di Maria curler destined for the top corner (68').
The Argentina international had only replaced Herrera on the hour mark, but hit the ground running and a trademark free-kick that caught out Koubek gave PSG the lead (73'). It was a lovely strike for the ex-Real Madrid and Manchester United man to bring up his 70th competitive goal for the club, and earn PSG the first silverware of the 2019-20 season.
THE PLAYER: Angel Di Maria
Though Mbappé equalised just before he came on, it was the Argentine genius who struck the most decisive blow in the game, and what a blow it was. A sublime knockout punch that floored Rennes and saw Di Maria announce he is already in top form ahead of next weekend's start of the league campaign.
THE STAT: 9
PSG have now won 9 Trophée des Champions, including the last seven. They were already the club that had lifted the crown most, ahead of Olympique Lyonnais (7).