PSG held by Ligue 1 strugglers Clermont | SuperSport
football30 September 2023 17:45| © AFP
Paris Saint-Germain warmed up for a trip to England to face Newcastle United in the Champions League by drawing 0-0 away to Ligue 1 strugglers Clermont on Saturday.
PSG coach Luis Enrique selected Kylian Mbappe in his starting line-up despite the France superstar having been an injury doubt during the week, but he endured a frustrating afternoon against in-form Clermont goalkeeper Mory Diaw and was booked for diving late on.
The reigning French champions had been hoping to build on impressive wins against Borussia Dortmund and Marseille in their last two outings, but this result confirms they are far from the finished article under their new manager.
"We tried to create and to win the match but it was almost impossible to kick the ball in the right way because it was always bouncing, especially for the strikers when they tried to score," Luis Enrique told broadcaster Amazon Prime, with reference to a newly-laid pitch at Clermont's Stade Gabriel-Montpied.
"I knew the pitch was new, they changed it three days ago, but we were unlucky to have to play on it in these conditions."
PSG have won just three of their first seven league games and sit provisionally second in the table, a point behind surprise leaders Brest.
Clermont had beaten the Parisians away in their final game of last season but came into this match bottom and with just one point so far in this campaign.
They are still winless, but the unexpected point lifts them off the foot of the table on goal difference from Lyon, who play on Sunday.
MBAPPE SHAKES OFF INJURY
Mbappe had been a doubt in the build-up to the game after coming off with an ankle injury against Marseille last weekend, but Luis Enrique resisted any temptation to rest his star player with Wednesday's game at Newcastle in mind.
PSG's top scorer was heavily involved, setting off on a lightning break down the left early on and providing a low pass for Ousmane Dembele, whose first-time shot was well saved by Diaw.
The Clermont goalkeeper, who was on the books at PSG as a youngster but never played a top-team game, then denied Mbappe, Randal Kolo Muani and Dembele again before the interval.
Visiting goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was called into action a minute after the interval, producing a brilliant save on his line to deny Jamaican striker Shamar Nicholson and then seeing Yohann Magnin hit the post from the follow-up.
Most of the action was at the other end, however, with Mbappe hitting the outside of a post from a Dembele assist before being cautioned 10 minutes from time for throwing himself to the ground in the area.
Diaw saved his best for just after that incident as he managed to claw away a Goncalo Ramos effort despite going to ground early, and he rounded off his afternoon's work with another crucial stop from a Danilo Pereira header.
New coach Gennaro Gattuso will take charge of Marseille for the first time later on Saturday when they travel to Monaco.
On Friday, Lens won 1-0 away at Strasbourg thanks to an Elye Wahi goal as they warmed up for Tuesday's home Champions League meeting with Arsenal.
Brest are away to third-placed Nice on Sunday.