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Ligue 1 | Gameweek 24
Mar 1, 2024 at 8pm UK
Stade Louis II.
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Kylian Mbappe off at half time as Paris Saint-Germain held by Monaco

Mbappe off at half time as PSG held by Monaco
© Reuters
Kylian Mbappe is brought off at half time as Paris Saint-Germain are held to a 0-0 draw by Monaco in Ligue 1 action at the Stade Louis II.

Kylian Mbappe was taken off at half time as Paris Saint-Germain were held to a 0-0 draw by Monaco at the Stade Louis II in Ligue 1.

Les Monegasques were unfortunate not to enter the break ahead before an Mbappe-less Parisiens improved in the second half, but the night belonged to the goalkeepers, as Gianluigi Donnarumma and Radoslaw Majecki both departed with deserved clean sheets next to their names.

Parisiens number one Donnarumma was the far busier of the two shot-stoppers during the first half, being called into action after just five minutes to deny Folarin Balogun at his near post.

Ex-Arsenal attacker Balogun - and the rest of the red and white shirts - were fired up for the occasion, and the USA international unsuccessfully remonstrated to referee Ruddy Buquet in the 14th minute, having given Manuel Ugarte the slip with a nifty turn before being tugged back by the Uruguayan.

Balogun attempted to stay on his feet and get his shot away rather than immediately go down - which arguably did not help his cause - but from the resulting corner, Donnarumma had to be at full stretch to tip a Takumi Minamino curler over the top.

The champions belatedly carved out their first meaningful chance in the 21st minute, as space opened up for Marco Asensio in the middle to let fly, but his curling strike was far too close to Majecki to trouble the Monaco shot-stopper.

Just four minutes later, Wissam Ben Yedder momentarily thought that he had drawn first blood for Monaco - skipping past Donnarumma and tapping in after latching onto Balogun's header - but the offside flag correctly went up against the Frenchman.

The attack-minded Monegasques kept on coming, and the unbeatable Donnarumma was required again to thwart Maghnes Akliouche in the 29th minute, although he was indebted to his defenders for blocking Aleksandr Golovin's goal-bound follow-up.

PSG's attackers were seldom seen in the opening exchanges, but Asensio appeared to tweak a thigh muscle and could not carry on despite a dose of magic spray from the medical team; Bradley Barcola replaced the ex-Real Madrid man in the 38th minute.

Another gilt-edged chance fell at the feet of Ben Yedder in the 42nd minute, as Youssouf Fofana picked out his captain with a terrific eye-of-the-needle pass beyond several black shirts, but the Frenchman volleyed over the top from a promising position.

A timid PSG - bereft of offensive threat for all of their possession - entered the break on level terms, albeit only thanks to another top stop from Donnarumma, who kept out Akliouche's low drive from 12 yards after Kassoum Ouattara cut back for the 22-year-old in injury time.

In another possible indication that his days in PSG colours are numbered, Mbappe was surprisingly taken off at half time by Luis Enrique - who brought Randal Kolo Muani on in his place - although he appeared to be walking with a very slight limp as he made his way around the Stade Louis II to acknowledge the home crowd.

A couple more Monaco penalty appeals - one for a handball against Achraf Hakimi and another for Lucas Hernandez's shove on Ben Yedder - fell on deaf ears early in the second half, where Vitinha also blazed a speculative effort over the top for PSG in the 56th minute.

Monaco coach Adi Hutter reacts as Paris St Germain coach Luis Enrique looks on on November 24, 2023© Reuters

The golden chances continued to fall Monaco's way, though, and with 58 minutes gone, Minamino floated a cross to the back post for Ben Yedder, who demonstrated perfect technique with an exquisite volley but was denied by the crossbar and the offside flag, although Hakimi appeared to be playing him on.

However, with Mbappe off the field, the champions were playing with more cohesion, and the livewire Barcola soon tested Majecki on two occasions, hitting a tame shot straight at the Pole in the 62nd minute before being kept out at his near post five moments later.

As PSG rose into the ascendancy in the final quarter of the game, Barcola found the unchecked run of Vitinha in the left-hand side of the box in the 75th minute, and the Portuguese midfielder had ample time to open up his body and aim for the far corner, but Majecki read it well and tipped the ball behind.

A final tame header from Thilo Kehrer bounced straight to Donnarumma in added time as the two teams shook hands on a point, one which sees Enrique's men open up a 12-point lead over Brest at the top of the table, while Les Monegasques remain third but are just one point adrift of the current runners-up.

PSG will spend the weekend recuperating for Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second leg at Real Sociedad, whom they hold a 2-0 lead against from the first leg, while Monaco have a nine-day competitive break before travelling to Strasbourg on March 10.

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