Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 Metz: Last-gasp Draxler header gets champions up and running

By Sports Desk September 16, 2020

Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain snatched a precious late 1-0 victory after again toiling at home to Metz on Wednesday.

Having suffered consecutive 1-0 defeats - which came amid several positive coronavirus tests in the squad - PSG looked set to be frustrated again in their pursuit of a first goal and first win after three league matches in 2020-21.

Abdou Diallo was sent off and Juan Bernat departed injured, leaving nine PSG players battling to preserve a point until Julian Draxler profited on a goalkeeping error at the other end to head in.

PSG players collapsed in a heap at the end as the Champions League finalists moved out of the bottom three and eased the pressure on coach Thomas Tuchel less than a month on from the Lisbon loss to Bayern Munich.

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    Napoli head coach Gennaro Gattuso acknowledged Kalidou Koulibaly is likely to leave the Serie A club but he would be happy to keep the star defender.

    Koulibaly has been strongly linked with Premier League giants Manchester City and Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain as Napoli look to raise funds following the club-record signing of Victor Osimhen.

    The 29-year-old Koulibaly played as Napoli opened their 2020-21 Serie A season with a 2-0 win at Parma on Sunday and Gattuso hailed the in-demand centre-back, who has also reportedly attracted interest from Manchester United.

    "I had no doubts, he is one of the strongest champions in the world in his role," Gattuso said via Sky Sport.

    "He has always given me great availability and always trains well. I would be sorry to lose him, both for the man and for the player.

    "But you know that numbers are important for clubs and at this moment something needs to be done for numbers, but I'd be happy to keep him."

    Osimhen made his debut for Napoli, coming off the bench to inspire the visitors as Dries Mertens and captain Lorenzo Insigne scored against Parma.

    Gattuso added: "It's not about numbers, but the principles of football. We know Osimhen is an added bonus, but we need to run before we have quality, because quality is not enough on its own.

    "We must set out the team with the right concepts and protect the defence, but we knew that Osimhen could give us another gear in the final 20-25 minutes today.

    "Osimhen is a lad who, in the 25 days I've been working with, I can tell doesn't forget where he started from, who made sacrifices, lost his family very young and has the head of a 40-year-old on 21-year-old shoulders.

    "I am confident he won't change, as he has a great attitude and at this moment is a better player than he's so far shown on the pitch."

  • Ronaldo is aware of when it is time to rest, says Pirlo Ronaldo is aware of when it is time to rest, says Pirlo

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    The Portugal international scored late on in Juve's 3-0 victory over Sampdoria at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday as Pirlo's managerial reign got off to a winning start.

    He had earlier hit the crossbar and came close from a couple of his other nine efforts prior to finally finding a way past Emil Audero in the 88th minute.

    And with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner having recently picked up a toe injury on international duty, Pirlo is keen to closely manage his star player's fitness.

    "We are thinking about it and we have talked about it together," he told Sky Sport Italia. "He is not tired at the moment because we have just started the season. But when we come up to less important games, we'll try to give him a rest. 

    "He's a very intelligent lad who knows his body very well, so he is aware of when it's time to rest or step it up. When he will play depends on him."

    Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici confirmed ahead of kick-off that Barcelona's Luis Suarez is no longer an option in the club's search for a new striker.

    With Paulo Dybala missing the opening game through injury and Gonzalo Higuain finalising a move to Inter Miami on Friday, Pirlo is after a particular type of player to bolster his side.

    "We'll give it our best. It's about finding the right balance," he said. "Quality players are always welcome, as long as they have the characteristics to bring balance to the team. But we want to use as much of our talent as possible."

    Debutant midfielder Dejan Kulusevski netted the first goal of Pirlo's tenure and Leonardo Bonucci was also on target in Turin prior to Ronaldo's clinical finish late on.

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    "Frabotta had a good game. Alex Sandro picked up an injury, so I chose the under-23 lad who is training with us very well," Pirlo said. "I didn't consider it a risk at all to use him.

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    Pirlo has worked under some of the game's most influential coaches but vowed to do things his own way in his first managerial job.

    "It will take time to get all the various ways of playing together. I don't want to just copy and paste anyone's ideas," he said. "I have my own ideas and want to adapt from the teams that inspired me.

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    Vidal is set to be confirmed as a Nerazzurri player on Monday after the buying club posted updates on his arrival in Italy this weekend.

    The 33-year-old, who previously played in Serie A for Juventus, is set for a €1million move after two years at Barca.

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    As well as Manchester City, Messi – who wanted to be released from his contract – was linked with Vidal's new employers Inter.

    He wrote to the Chilean on Instagram on Sunday: "I only knew you from facing each other and you always seemed like a phenomenon to me, but later I was lucky to meet you personally and you surprised me even more.

    "They were two years sharing many things and you made yourself noticed. The dressing room is going to miss you.

    "I wish you all the best in this new stage at your new club. We will cross paths again, for sure."

    Vidal commented: "Thanks alien! I am proud to have played with the greatest in history and thank you very much for your friendship. I miss you. See you soon."

    Vidal was part of the 2018-19 LaLiga title-winning team at Camp Nou and scored 11 goals in 66 league games in total.

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