Neymar shines but PSG held by Monaco in thriller

PARIS (AFP) – Neymar scored twice and created another goal but leaders Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) were held to an entertaining 3-3 draw at home last Sunday by a Monaco side playing their first Ligue 1 game under new coach Robert Moreno.

The Brazilian gave PSG the lead after just two minutes at the Parc des Princes but Monaco scored two quick goals through Gelson Martins and Wissam Ben Yedder to move 2-1 ahead inside quarter of an hour.

A Fode Ballo-Toure own goal brought PSG level and Neymar restored their advantage from the penalty spot before half-time after a foul on Kylian Mbappe.

But Monaco, who also host PSG tomorrow in a rearranged fixture, earned a point when Islam Slimani’s goal was controversially awarded after it was initially ruled out for offside.

“We didn’t put in our best performance but we tried. It was a good test. Monaco have a good team but we are superior and we must show it on the pitch,” Neymar told Canal+.

PSG’s Neymar is challenged by Monaco’s Benjamin Henrichs. PHOTO: AP

“If we had played at our best we would have taken the three points.

“I think on the third goal, the fact our defender touched the ball wasn’t intentional but the decision falls to the referee. They have VAR for that, we can’t complain. We weren’t perfect tonight either.”

It was just the second time PSG have dropped points at home this season – after a shock 2-0 defeat by Reims in September – but the draw represented a positive start for former Spain coach Moreno, who replaced Leonardo Jardim at the end of December.

“We should be very happy. I’m very pleased with my players and I want to congratulate them for a great match,” said Moreno.

“We played to our strengths on the counter-attack. We think we can beat any team and that’s what I tell my players. That’s our philosophy.”

PSG had started the new year in rampant form by scoring six both times in a pair of domestic cup wins and looked on track for a 10th win in a row over Monaco after Neymar controlled a terrific Marco Verratti pass to smash home the opener.

Thomas Tuchel’s side came in riding an eight-match winning streak – across which they had scored 34 goals – but concerns remained over the deployment of a prolific four-man attack against stronger opposition.

Monaco hit back almost immediately as Cesc Fabregas threaded a neat ball through for Ben Yedder and although he was chopped down by Keylor Navas, the rebound rolled into the path of Martins who tapped into an empty net.