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Injury and illness-hit PSG beaten by Monaco ahead of Bayern clash

A Paris Saint-Germain side missing the injured Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe and hit by a stomach bug warmed up for their Champions League last-16 first leg against Bayern Munich by going down to a 3-1 defeat at Monaco in Ligue 1 on Saturday, their second defeat in four days.

All the goals came in the first half at the Stade Louis II, with Aleksandr Golovin putting Monaco ahead inside four minutes and Wissam Ben Yedder doubling the home side’s lead.

The 16-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery pulled one back for PSG but Ben Yedder scored his second of the game, and 19th of the season, to make it 3-1 in first-half stoppage time.

PSG remain top of the table, seven points ahead of a Monaco side who are up to second, but Marseille can close to within five points of the leaders with a win at Clermont later.

That is the least of the Qatar-owned club’s worries right now, however.

Also beaten by Marseille in the last 16 of the French Cup in midweek, Christophe Galtier’s team have now lost three times in seven league outings in 2023.

PSG will be without Mbappe, their top scorer, due to a thigh injury for the clash with Bayern at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday and Galtier must hope that Messi recovers in time from the hamstring complaint that prevented him from travelling to the principality.

Stomach bug

They were also without playmaker Marco Verratti, fellow midfielder Renato Sanches and defender Nordi Mukiele due to injury before it emerged that several members of the squad were laid low by a stomach bug on the morning of the game.

Experienced players such as Sergio Ramos and Achraf Hakimi only appeared in the second half before Presnel Kimpembe made his first appearance since before the World Cup following injury.

PSG were already 3-1 down by the time any of them came on and would have suffered a heavier defeat had goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma not been in inspired form.

After the game Kimpembe, who would have been in France’s World Cup squad before he was hit by an Achilles injury, used a megaphone to apologise to PSG’s travelling supporters.

Already beaten away at Lens and Rennes in Ligue 1 since the turn of the year, the capital side fell behind when Ben Yedder helped set up Russian international Golovin to score from close range.

El Chadaille Bitshiabu, the 17-year-old centre-back, was then dispossessed on the edge of his own area by Krepin Diatta, allowing Ben Yedder to fire in and make it 2-0 in the 18th minute.

Donnarumma saved well from Ruben Aguilar before the visitors pulled one back as Juan Bernat’s low ball across the face of goal was turned in by Zaire-Emery.

Yet Donnarumma had to save again from Golovin and then France striker Ben Yedder finished with aplomb to restore Monaco’s two-goal lead right on half-time.

PSG, with Neymar unable to make an impact, rarely threatened in the second half and again needed their Italy goalkeeper to intervene on several occasions, including making a fine stop to deny Takumi Minamino right at the end.  

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