PLAYER RATINGS | Montpellier 2-6 PSG: Kylian Mbappé records third hattrick of the season to demolish La Paillade

It was always going to be a difficult night for Montpellier HSC as they hosted Paris Saint-Germain. The home side are in a rare relegation battle and would come into the match without their starting goalkeeper as Benjamin Lecomte was injured only hours before the game. 

In his place, Dimitry Bertaud made his first start of the season and managed to touch the ball just once before Vitinha opened the scoring. It was a clever solo goal as Montpellier backed off the midfielder, allowing him to advance to the edge of the box and sweep a shot through the crowded area into the goal. The second soon followed as Kylian Mbappé was back in the lineup and back on the scoresheet. The winger was the finish to a quick counterattack, combining well with Randal Kolo Muani to double the deficit. 

Despite the scoreline, Montpellier had looked threatening throughout the match and were left aggrieved when the referee waved away their protests for a penalty. They eventually found their reward for some promising attacks when Arnaud Nordin capitalised on an error from Danilo Pereira to head the ball home from point-blank range. 

However, the conversation would be all about the referee. Another mistake from Danilo saw Coulibaly and Donnarumma contest a high ball. The keeper managed to clear the ball but was judged to have taken the Montpellier man out afterwards. It looked a harsh decision and led to bizarre scenes after it was checked by VAR. For the next 3 minutes, the referee patiently listened to the pleas of Mbappé and Donnarumma. Their cries fell on deaf ears, and Téji Tedy Savaniers stepped up to the spot to level the scores almost on the stroke of the halftime whistle. 

PSG complete turn around their fortunes

Despite their complaints, the two-goal lead was quickly restored within less than 10 minutes of the second half. Mbappé regained the lead with a wonder strike from outside the box before Lee restored the two-goal cushion for PSG with another effort from distance. A third from Mbappé running onto a quick freekick from Vitinha seemingly put the game out of reach for Montpellier with almost thirty minutes left to play

A sign that the game was out of reach for the hosts was the choice of bringing on Senny Mayulu. The seventeen-year-old was making his Ligue 1 debut for the club after gaining some earlier experience in the Coupe de France for Les Parisiens against US Orléans Loiret. A Nuno Mendes strike late into the game only confirmed this as PSG blew Montpellier away. 

A run of three games without a victory for PSG came firmly to an end. It didn’t feel coincidental that it was a game that Mbappé started and finished – an increasingly rare feat for the player since he announced to the club his decision to leave at the end of the season. His presence was instrumental for the team to cruise past a Montpellier side that had looked threatening throughout the first half. 

PSG player ratings

Gianluigi Donnarumma, 5

Lucas Hernández, 6

Lucas Beraldo, 4

Danilo Pereira, 3 – A night that the defender will hope to forget. Two mistakes led to the two goals, and in a month where PSG have struggled to find victories in the league, the centre-back looked as if he had thrown the club into danger. 

Achraf Hakimi, 7

Lee Kang-in, 7

Manuel Ugarte, 6

Vitinha, 9 – If not for Mbappé’s hattrick this would have been a night defined solely by the midfielder. He was exceptional in and out of possession. Scored and assisted his teammates continuously. 

Kylian Mbappé, 9 – An incredible performance from the winger. Vital for the team as they cruised to a second-half rout. 

Randal Kolo Muani, 6

Bradley Barcola, 5

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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