25, July 2020
Paris Saint-Germain won the French Cup title on Friday but saw Kylian Mbappé limp off the pitch with an ankle injury as football returned to the country after a four-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A lone Neymar goal in the 14th minute was enough to see off feisty Saint-Etienne on a bittersweet night for the Parisians, whose hopes of Champions League glory next month may have been dented by Mbappé’s injury.
The 21-year-old World Cup-winner was brought down by a clumsy tackle from Saint Etienne captain Loic Perrin in the 26th minute, with his right ankle turning as he fell. Perrin was duly sent off for the challenge.
Mbappé is a key player in PSG’s hunt for four titles this season. The French champions face Olympique Lyonnais in the League Cup final next Friday and have a Champions League quarter-final against Atalanta coming up next month.
The fixture at the Stade de France marked the return of French football after a four-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Unlike the rest of Europe’s top leagues, which eventually restarted despite the health crisis, France’s Ligue 1 ended prematurely in March with PSG crowned champions for the seventh time in eight years.
French President Emmanuel Macron attended Friday’s final as per tradition, but fewer than 5,000 spectators were permitted at the 80,000-seater venue as part of stringent health regulations.
The contest got off to an eventful start with Yvann Maçon felling Neymar in the opening seconds to earn a yellow card and Saint-Etienne’s Denis Bouanga hitting the post in the fifth minute.
But it was the Parisians who scored when Neymar pounced on a rebound after an Mbappé shot was blocked by goalkeeper Jessy Mouli.
Ten minutes later, Perrin’s rough tackle put Mbappé out of the game. The Saint-Etienne captain was sent off in his last game and four other players were booked as tempers briefly flared.
Saint-Etienne kept finding ways into the PSG box even after going a man down, but missed out on adding to their six Cup wins.
Source: France 24