Kuala Lumpur Post


Lee, Mbappe goals give PSG victory in French Champions Trophy

PARIS — Lee Kang-in and Kylian Mbappe scored first-half goals as Paris Saint-Germain won the first silverware of the French season on Wednesday, beating Toulouse 2-0 to claim the Champions Trophy.

Lee, playing his final game before heading off to the Asian Cup in Qatar with South Korea, put PSG ahead in the third minute, leaving Toulouse with an uphill battle at the Parc des Princes.

Mbappe then added a superb second goal just before half-time, as Paris claimed the Champions Trophy for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons.

“We were exceptional in the first half. It was our best 45 minutes of my time here,” said PSG coach Luis Enrique after claiming his first silverware as a coach since leaving Barcelona in 2017.

France’s version of a Super Cup is habitually the curtain-raiser to the season and has usually been staged abroad over the last 15 years, including in Tel Aviv at the beginning of the last campaign.

This season’s edition was initially due to be played in Thailand in August before being postponed and held in PSG’s own stadium rather than on neutral ground.

Home advantage gave Luis Enrique’s team, the reigning Ligue 1 champions, the edge as they opened the scoring from one of their first attacks, Lee firing in from Ousmane Dembele’s cushioned first-time ball into the middle.

It was a third goal of the season for Lee, who is likely to have a big role to play as South Korea aim to win the Asian Cup for the first time since 1960.

Toulouse, taking part after winning last season’s French Cup, almost equalised late in the first half when a Thijs Dallinga shot was tipped onto the post by PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Instead PSG scored again just before the interval as Mbappe – who is out of contract at the end of the season and so is now free to discuss terms with other clubs – collected a Bradley Barcola pass before burying a superb shot into the net for his 22nd goal in all competitions this season.

Achraf Hakimi hit the post from a second-half free-kick as Toulouse avoided conceding any further goals and PSG brought on Lucas Beraldo for his debut following the young Brazilian defender’s arrival from Sao Paulo.

He replaced Milan Skriniar, who hobbled off injured and is now set for a spell on the sidelines.

“It is nothing minor so we will wait and see what the tests show but I am sure he will be out of our coming games,” Luis Enrique said of Skriniar.

Hakimi now departs for the Africa Cup of Nations with Morocco, who will be among the favourites for that competition taking place in the Ivory Coast.

The final of the AFCON will be staged on February 11, while the Asian Cup final is a day earlier.

Therefore, if Hakimi and Lee go all the way with their countries, they will not return for PSG until just before the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Real Sociedad on February 14. — AFP

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