Angel Di Maria Saves PSG in Stoppage Time

Angel Di Maria Saves PSG in Stoppage Time  -
PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 24: Angel Di Maria #11 of Paris Saint-Germain celebrates scoring the equalizing goal in injury time during the Group C match of the UEFA Champions League between Paris Saint-Germain and SSC Napoli at Parc des Princes on October 24, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)

Wednesday night saw Thomas Tuchel’s PSG face Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli at the Parc des Princes. Unbeaten after two games, Napoli went in as underdogs, as Neymar and others looked to continue PSG’s recovery in Group C.

After a strong start to the game, PSG began to struggle. The better team early on, Paris Saint-Germain lost their focus, with Napoli looking to catch them on the break. Ancelotti’s team got exactly what they were looking for, as star man Lorenzo Insigne opened the scoring. Taking advantage of some poor defending, Napoli took a 1-0 lead into half-time. Failing to take full advantage, Napoli could have led by more at the half, with Ancelotti’s team missing several good chances in the opening 45 minutes.

To begin the second half, Tuchel’s team adjusted, defending well and creating chances. As PSG’s front three continued to pressure Napoli’s back-four, an equaliser finally arrived, as a Thomas Meunier cross deflected in off full-back Mario Rui. A stroke of luck, PSG were back in the game. 75 minutes in and the game began to slow down, as both teams fought for possession in the middle. Despite sitting deep Napoli continued to venture forward when PSG gave away possession and in the 77th minute, Belgian forward Dries Mertens gave his side a shock 2-1 lead. Just as Napoli thought they had all three points wrapped up, Angel Di Maria stepped up, stealing a point at the death. The game finished 2-2, a harsh result for Napoli considering their performance.

Defensive Struggles

Despite securing a point late on, this wasn’t a performance worthy of praise by PSG. Defensively, this team was a mess. Struggling to stop what was a rather tame Napoli attack, the absence of captain Thiago Silva was evident throughout. Failing to contain Napoli’s forwards, PSG deserved to lose on the night, giving away chance after chance in the first half.

Napoli let Tuchel and his team off the hook, failing to take the chances they were given. Tuchel’s team now have four points from three games and head into matchday four facing a tough trip to Naples. Needing a result, PSG will need Silva to be available but most importantly a better overall team performance is needed in two weeks time.

Key Players and Group Outlook

During the opening 45 minutes, Napoli’s key man was Insigne. The Italian winger played his role well, countering alongside Mertens to great effect. Opening the scoring 29 minutes in, Insigne started what was a good night for the Partenopei. However, the impactful Italian was forced off shortly after the second half started with an injury. In the second half, Napoli pushed on. The likes of Fabian Ruiz and Mertens played a key role going forward, while Kalidou Koulibaly and David Ospina helped secure a point on the night.

On a night which saw Tuchel’s team underperform at home, PSG doesn’t have much to brag about. Stealing a point late on thanks to Di Maria, PSG sit third in Group C. Conceding late on, Napoli drops to second, with group rivals Liverpool moving into pole position. In the group’s other fixture, Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool beat group bottomfeeders Red Star Belgrade 4-0 at Anfield, a result which sees Liverpool move one point clear or Napoli.