Kylian Mbappe was the “trigger for victory” in Paris Saint-Germain’s defeat of Strasbourg as head coach Christophe Galtier praised the forward for putting World Cup heartbreak behind him.
The attacker won and converted a stoppage-time penalty to snatch a late victory against Strasbourg in Ligue 1 on Wednesday after Neymar had been sent off.
Mbappe’s intervention came 10 days after he scored a World Cup final hat-trick for France, only to lose out on a second successive title as Argentina won on penalties.
However, Galtier praised the 24-year-old’s fortitude, highlighting his role as a talisman for the champions and suggesting he will pick up where he left off with his World Cup form.
“I think he is on the level of what he did in Qatar,” the coach said. “He’s benefited from a few days off. Despite the sadness, he had an exceptional tournament, and his recovery means he’s been on the pace.
“Since his return, he was determined to play our next two matches. He was the trigger for victory when it was tough. He has taught the whole team with his selflessness.”
95 – Kylian Mbappé (95 minutes and 40 seconds) has scored the latest goal for Paris in Ligue 1 since Opta began to collect this data (2006-07). Relentless.
— OptaJean (@OptaJean)
Neymar’s dismissal, for consecutive yellow cards around the hour mark, proved the biggest moment of the match before Mbappe’s late heroics.
The Brazilian was booked initially for catching Adrien Thomasson in the face with a trailing hand.
He was then dismissed for simulation.
Galtier acknowledged the second offence was the right call by the officials but felt the first was harsh, particularly after Neymar was on the receiving end of several unpunished challenges.
“I can understand the anger on his part,” Galtier added. “I regret that the excessive commitment was not sanctioned more severely. I can understand the simulation, it deserves a yellow.
“But a few minutes before, he takes a bad blow. His first yellow is very severe compared to the number of challenges suffered by Neymar, and not small challenges.”