Kylian Mbappé missed two penalties and an open goal in the space of 100 seconds before coming off injured in Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-1 win against Montpelier.
Just seven minutes into the game, PSG was awarded a penalty for a foul on defender Sergio Ramos, but Mbappé – who converted three penalties in the World Cup final seven weeks ago – saw his shot saved by Benjamin Lecomte.
Mbappé had his blushes spared when VAR spotted that Lecomte had stepped off his line before the shot and ordered a retake. But Lecomte guessed correctly again, tipping Mbappé’s penalty onto the post. The rebounding ball went straight to the PSG forward but he volleyed over from six yards.
Things went from bad to worse for the Parisians when, shortly after, Mbappé pulled up holding his hamstring and had to be substituted off.
A club statement on Thursday confirmed that Mbappé will be out for approximately three weeks, meaning he will likely miss PSG’s crunch tie in the Champions League against German giant Bayern Munich. Sergio Ramos is also a doubt after picking up a knock.
Adding to his embarrassment, Mbappé was overtaken in the top scorer charts in Ligue 1 by Reims striker Folarin Balogun who himself scored against PSG at the weekend to deny the Parisians a win.
Without Mbappé, the Parisians went on to win the game thanks in part to World Cup darling Lionel Messi.
Both Messi and Achraf Hakimi saw goals disallowed for offside before summer signing Fabián Ruiz opened his account for his new team in the 55th minute. Fifteen minutes later, Messi doubled PSG’s lead after finishing a lovely team move.
Montpellier pulled one back late on through Arnaud Nordin before PSG youngster Warren Zaïre-Emery closed the game off in the 92nd minute, becoming the youngest ever goal scorer in PSG’s history.
Despite eventually grabbing the win, PSG’s superstar squad has struggled since returning to club football after the World Cup.
The French champion saw plenty of its players shine at the World Cup, including Mbappé, Messi, Neymar and Hakimi, but the team has suffered an apparent hangover since the football bonanza in Qatar.
It lost twice in the league since returning to Ligue 1, was held to a draw at the weekend and now will potentially be missing some of its key stars going into a run of fixtures that includes two matches against Bayern Munich, a pair of games against fierce rivals Marseille and a trip to Monaco.
“We are not going to hide behind the post-World Cup calendar,” said coach Gaultier.
“It’s been a few weeks since our performances were not at the same level as in the first part of the season. We must work, we must find solutions, and reconnect.”
The team will have to turn things around, potentially without Mbappé, if it is to avoid another year of disappointment in its hunt for an elusive first Champions League title.