Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe substituted and booed at home as PSG snatch late Rennes draw


PARIS — Kylian Mbappe made his first Paris Saint-Germain appearance at Parc des Princes since his decision to leave the French champions but Sunday’s Ligue 1 clash with Stade Rennais did not go according to plan for the France international. Substituted after 65 minutes and booed by parts of the capital outfit’s home support, it was not the start of the farewell that Mbappe and PSG would have imagined with a 1-1 draw as Goncalo Ramos’ late penalty canceled out Amine Gouiri’s opener.

Things started cordially enough on Sunday with no signs of animosity towards Mbappe from the Parisien fans as the 25-year-old warmed up and started in Luis Enrique’s XI for the game which actually started fairly positively from the home side. The big turning point in a game played on an extremely slippery field because of the rain was Gouiri’s moment of magic after 33 minutes when he dazzled the makeshift PSG defense before an audacious outside-the-boot finish past birthday boy Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Before that, Ousmane Dembele and Achraf Hakimi tried their best to create openings for Mbappe as well as themselves and even went close when the Morocco international could perhaps have done better from a second-half free kick. Steve Mandanda also rolled back the years on multiple occasions to keep PSG out as they tried to break down a stubborn defense which shipped two goals in midweek against Milan in the UEFA Europa League to put paid to Julian Stephan’s hopes of an extended European run.

Mbappe and his teammates struggled up against a revitalized Breton side who are coming back into continental contention and the five second-half changes of which the Parisien No. 7 was one reflected that Luis Enrique was at a loss to identify the solution to those difficulties. The Spaniard’s decision to withdraw Mbappe, though, also perhaps suggests that he will no longer hesitate to experiment with his team in certain situations without their talisman now that they know that he will no longer be with them after this season.

“We must get used to playing without Kylian sooner or later,” said Luis Enrique postgame. “If and when I deem it appropriate, he will play or not play — like any other coach with any other player. I want maximum competitiveness next season and I want every starting player in this PSG side to feel that this is an opportunity for them. That is what I am looking to do not just for this season but also for next.”

Previously untouchable, we could possibly now see Mbappe start games on the bench or be substituted more frequently from here on out with Goncalo Ramos desperate for improved game time and Randal Kolo Muani to also accommodate along with Dembele and Bradley Barcola. The booing also opens the door for things to turn unsavory between Mbappe and the PSG fans if results suddenly start to go against the team now that his mind has been made up with Real Madrid seemingly waiting to confirm his arrival.

For now, regardless of this result almost ending a strong run of unbeaten form which dates back to November, PSG are fairly comfortable with an 11-point lead in Ligue 1 and a Coupe de France quarterfinal coming up as well as 2-0 first-leg lead against Real Sociedad in the UEFA Champions League round of 16. Those are also considerations for Luis Enrique and Mbappe from this point onwards given his recent injury scare during a win over Stade Brestois 29 in the cup which could have been much worse.

This one also could have been worse for PSG if Adrien Truffert had taken his late chance to double Rennes’ lead but it left the door open for the hosts and they walked through it with Ramos making sure from the penalty spot at the very last second after a Mandanda foul. Ramos was denied a spot kick earlier via VAR but he was not to be denied in the dying seconds with an undeniable foul eventually penalized by VAR in Paris’ favor to the delight of a Parc des Princes crowd which quickly forgot its collective frustration towards Mbappe. 





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