AP Photo

Ligue 1: Mbappe scores two as PSG win 3-1 with help from VAR

Leave a comment

PARIS (AP) World Cup star Kylian Mbappe’s lethal finishing and confusing VAR decisions helped Paris Saint-Germain to a second straight win at the start of its French title defense.

Mbappe came off the bench to score twice in a 3-1 win at Guingamp on Saturday but the victory was overshadowed by a contentious VAR decision in PSG’s favor, and a seemingly clear penalty not given to Guingamp with the scores level.

“It’s true I added something,” Mbappe said. “But the whole team wanted to change things after the first half.”

PSG trailed 1-0 at halftime, which could have been 2-0 only for referee Clement Turpin to be alerted by the video assistant referee as to a possible foul in the buildup to a goal. He disallowed the header by midfielder Nicolas Benezet.

The 19-year-old Mbappe, who helped France win the World Cup last month , came on at halftime and instantly sparked PSG’s attack.

Eight minutes later, Neymar’s trickery with the ball led to him earning a penalty, which he took himself for 1-1.

But with about 10 minutes left, PSG defender Thomas Meunier clattered into Guingamp winger Marcus Coco as he charged into the area.

Although Meunier sent Coco tumbling heavily, Turpin did not give the penalty and — more surprisingly — VAR officials did not alert him to review the incident.

Two minutes later, the clinical Mbappe put PSG ahead and then finished off Guingamp in the 90th minute.

He curled his first into the bottom corner and deftly chipped the second over the goalkeeper from close range.

Just like in last weekend’s 3-0 win against Caen, coach Thomas Tuchel again started three of PSG’s youth academy players, with 19-year-old Colin Dagba at center half, 19-year-old Antoine Bernede in midfield and 18-year-old U.S. international Timothy Weah in attack.

But they struggled as Guingamp, a small town in Brittany, dominated the first half.

PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon made a sensational early save from striker Nolan Roux’s close-range shot. Buffon looked beaten as he dived to his left but the 40-year-old Italian showed incredible reflexes to stick out his right hand and push the ball onto the crossbar.

But there was nothing even he could do when Guingamp scored in the 20th minute, with Dagba’s mistake leading to Roux’s 70th top-flight goal but the first for his new club.

Dagba chested the ball and then, thinking center half partner Thiago Silva was coming across to cover, he hesitated. Coco sprinted into the gap and squared the ball to Roux, who finished neatly.

Buffon was beaten again five minutes later when Coco flicked the ball from the left to Benezet, who headed in. Turpin disallowed the header and went for a video review after being alerted by VAR officials. He disallowed it for an apparent trip by Benezet on Dagba as they contested the ball, although there appeared to be only minimal contact, if any.

Weah, the son of current Liberia President and former PSG striker George Weah, made way for Mbappe.

Teenagers Weah and Mbappe combined are three years younger than Buffon — who hugged Guingamp striker Marcus Thuram after the game.

The reason?

Buffon was teammates with his father, the robust defender Lilian Thuram, at Italian side Parma — the city where Marcus was born in 1997.

PSG signs defender Thilo Kehrer from Schalke

1 Comment

PARIS (AP) French champion Paris Saint-Germain has signed defender Thilo Kehrer from German club Schalke on a five-year contract.

PSG gave no financial details but Kehrer reportedly cost 37 million euros ($42 million).

[ MORE: Europa League wrap ]

The 21-year-old German helped Schalke finish second in the Bundesliga last season. He also helped Germany’s under-21 team win last year’s European Championship.

Kehrer is seen as an eventual replacement for 33-year-old central defender Thiago Silva, who has been with PSG since 2012.

He will be working under German coach Thomas Tuchel, who is bringing more young players into the team.

Kehrer says “I am going to meet some extraordinary teammates and work with a coach that has done a great job in Germany in recent years.”


Cheikh Ndoye has returned to his former club Angers on loan from second-tier English side Birmingham.

The 32-year-old midfielder, who has made 27 international appearances for Senegal, joined Birmingham last year on a three-year deal.

He played 40 games last season, but with Birmingham reportedly under pressure to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations, he was loaned out and thus reduced the club’s wage bill.

Ndoye captained Angers from 2015-2017.

Last weekend, Angers opened its first-division campaign with a 4-3 home loss to Nimes.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Could Eriksen leave Tottenham this summer?

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Christian Eriksen has been an automatic lineup selection at Tottenham since arriving from Ajax in 2013. There’s rumblings that’s about to end.

Tabloids in England are hot on the trail of the Danish playmaker, following his contract situation and speculating that he could move elsewhere as soon as the end of August. With two years left on his current deal that expires in the summer of 2020, now would be the final window Spurs could get full value for his services. Should they let it run down any longer, they risk losing him at a cut-rate price, or worst, for free.

[ MORE: A day on location at Spurs ]

According to some reports, Eriksen has been in talks with the Spurs front office over a contract extension all summer, but those have not been fruitful. Other reports state things have advanced so far that other big European clubs are readying big-money bids to entice Spurs to sell while they have the chance.

A report by The Express states that Paris Saint-Germain is tracking the Dane, while multiple tabloids have speculated that Real Madrid could target Eriksen should Luka Modric depart. According to the Express report, PSG could offer as much as $128 million.

Still, with talks reportedly still ongoing between Eriksen and the club on an extension, there’s always a chance they come to an agreement to keep him in London. In addition, with Daniel Levy’s track record – an executive who doesn’t cave to reports and player pressure – he would likely keep the Dane at Spurs unless a massive bid was officially submitted.

Also of note is Tottenham’s transfer window. The club became the first Premier League team not to sign a single player in a summer transfer window, likely betting on the current roster. With Eriksen so important to Mauricio Pochettino‘s attacking setup, it’s still highly unlikely the club would let Eriksen walk with no replacement, even with the lost leverage in further transfer negotiations.

Weah making early mark on PSG squad

Getty Images
1 Comment

Timothy Weah is just 18 years old. He may just be earning playing time with others still missing from the squad. He may be coming off the bench.

None of that matters if he keeps scoring goals.

The young American international has bagged two goals so far through Paris Saint-Germain’s first two games of the season, and it’s opening eyes.

Weah started PSG’s 4-0 drubbing of Monaco in the French Trophee de Champions (Ligue 1’s version of the Community Shield) and scored the team’s third goal on a cutback from fellow youngster Stanley N’Soki. He found space in the box and sliced his shot through traffic past a host of defenders.

Then, a week later, Weah came off the bench and scored the first Ligue 1 goal of his career in a 3-0 win over Caen to open the French league season. The American did it all himself, expertly pilfering Caen goalkeeper Brice Samba after a terrible decision with the ball at his feet, bundling the goalkeeper over into an embarrassing heap as the ball trickled into the back of the net.

It’s hard to say what Weah’s role in the PSG squad will be going forward this season with Edinson Cavani still yet to return from his post-World Cup time off, and Neymar only just returning. It’s also hard to deny that Weah’s contribution so far has been impossible to ignore, with his competitive goals following up a stellar preseason performance.

Undoubtedly, a teenage American international scoring goals at Paris Saint-Germain in a competitive environment is a fantastic achievement for both Weah and the international player pool as a whole, no matter the circumstances surrounding his presence in the squad. To see Weah making his mark is a massively important development for the future of the U.S. national team and his potential contributions to the team moving forward.

VIDEO: USMNT’s Weah scores first Ligue 1 goal in goofy fashion

Photo credit: @PSG_inside
1 Comment

Attention, ladies and gentlemen: the Tim Weah hype train has left the station for good. It is never, ever coming back.

[ MORE: Ronaldo made Juventus fans wait only eight minutes for first goal ]

Last season, the 18-year-old U.S. men’s national team attacker worked his way into one of the deepest, richest squads in the world — that of Paris Saint-Germain. Weah, the son of legendary Liberian striker-turned-president George Weah, bagged his first goal in Ligue 1 play on Sunday, capping off PSG’s 3-0 victory over Caen at the Parc des Princes.

Weah’s first league goal, which came seven minutes after he entered the game as a substitute (replacing Neymar), wasn’t exactly conventional — nor was it pretty, by any means — but it counts all the same when you get on the scoresheet alongside Neymar.

[ MORE: Pogba makes eyebrow-raising comments about Man United ]

The ball way played back to Caen goalkeeper Brice Samba, who took his sweet time before either playing the ball out or booting it up the field. Samba, it would appear, miscalculated the rate at which a player of Weah’s pace could close a gap of 10 or 15 yards. The result was, essentially, Weah taking the ball off Samba’s foot three yards in front of goal and bundling it over the line to complete the defending French champions’ 3-0 victory on opening day.

As will pretty regularly be the case anytime Weah does something of note during his career, the goal made a bit of history.