Kylian Mbappe scores after being dropped to bench as PSG beat Nantes

By Sports Desk February 17, 2024

Kylian Mbappe stepped off the bench to convert a penalty as Paris St Germain won 2-0 at Nantes to extend their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to 14 points.

Mbappe, who told PSG on Friday of his intention to leave in the summer when his contract expires, struck his 21st league goal of the season from the spot after Lucas Hernandez had given his side a second-half lead.

Amid mounting speculation that Mbappe will join Real Madrid in time for next season, the 25-year-old, along with Ousmane Dembele and Achraf Hakimi, were left out of Luis Enrique’s starting line-up.

Mbappe, who started and scored in PSG’s 2-0 win against Real Sociedad in Wednesday night’s Champions League last-16 tie, was in dispute with his club over his contract last summer.

The France forward refused to sign a one-year extension clause and was subsequently exiled from the first-team squad, and left out of their pre-season tour to Asia.

But he was all smiles with boss Enrique as he waited to enter the action at the Stade de la Beaujoire just after Hernandez had broken the deadlock, and was handed the captain’s armband after going on.

At the end of a first half of few clear-cut chances, Nantes twice went close and had a goal ruled out for offside.

Hernandez’s last-ditch tackle thwarted Douglas Augusto and was deemed legitimate by VAR before Marquinhos blocked Nicolas Cozza’s shot after Gianluigi Donnarumma had saved Mostafa Mohamed’s effort.

Nantes thought they had broken the deadlock when defender Nicolas Pallois turned home a corner, but his effort was ruled out by the referee assistant’s flag.

Pallois’ dipping 30-yard volley was comfortably saved by Donnarumma early in the second half and PSG took the lead on the hour-mark through Hernandez’s deflected shot.

Mbappe, Dembele and Hakimi were all sent on by Enrique straight after Hernandez’s opener and the visitors put the result beyond Nantes with 12 minutes remaining.

Augusto tripped Mbappe in the penalty area and the France forward picked himself up to slam home the spot kick for his 26th goal in 28 appearances for his club in all competitions this season.

Nantes went close to a late consolation goal when Donnarumma pushed substitute Moses Simon’s effort on to a post as PSG extended their unbeaten league run to 17 matches.

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