Paris Saint-Germain get off to a flying start in the Champions League Group of Death. Kylian Mbappe found the back of the net to give Paris Saint-Germain the lead for good. Lee Kang-in also came on as a substitute.
Paris Saint-Germain defeated Dortmund 2-0 on Matchday 1 of the UEFA Champions League 2023-24 at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France, at 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday.
Paris Saint-Germain are drawn in Group F of the Champions League this season. They were drawn in the “Group of Death” with Dortmund, AC Milan, and Newcastle United. However, they got off to a flying start by winning their first group game.
Paris Saint-Germain fielded a trio of Mbappe, Kolo Mouani, and Dembele. Emery, Ugarte, and Vitinha coordinated the attack and defense from the back, with Luca Hernandez, Shkriniar, Marquinhos, and Hakimi at the back. Donnarumma was in goal, while Lee Kang-in, recovering from a quadriceps injury, started on the bench.
Dortmund pounded Paris Saint-Germain with the Adeyemi and Malen duo. Brandt, Emre Can, and Savitser paced the midfield. Larsson and Wolf added activity at wingback to add to the flanking numbers battle. In defense were Schlotterback, Hummels, and Zulehle, with Kovel in goal.
The two teams traded blows early on in a star-studded affair. Paris Saint-Germain centered around Mbappe and pounded Dortmund. Dortmund played more long balls than short passes, hitting the space behind Paris Saint-Germain, who played high up the line. Mbappe even had one shot on target, aimed at Hummels’ head, from a corner kick about eight minutes after kickoff.
Dortmund suffered an injury before the midway point of the first half. Despite the power leak, he still managed to send a chill down Paris Saint-Germain’s spine with a threatening shot. Paris Saint-Germain tried to take the initiative by pressing quickly in the midfield when Dortmund had the ball, with Mbappe leading the attack with a lively run near the free-roll. Dortmund made a penetrating pass, but Luca Hernandez cleared the ball off the line.
However, it was Dortmund who threatened more often. Witsel increased his activity, looking for openings in the Paris Saint-Germain defense. Emre Can also intermittently came close to the box and knocked on the door of the PSG goal. Paris Saint-Germain continued their frustrating attack, with Mbappe failing to create much of a chance. There were no passes from the waist into the half-space, and they often played the ball down the flanks.
Paris Saint-Germain didn’t even manage to get a shot on target from a corner kick. Dortmund counterattacked immediately after the ball was cleared, only to be caught by the Paris Saint-Germain backline. Paris Saint-Germain had the better of the possession, but their players were not organized. Dortmund pounded the right flank of Paris Saint-Germain, who were boldly moving forward, getting the ball into the box.
Paris Saint-Germain increased their shots on goal beyond the 35th minute. Mbappe, then Dembele, switched positions and took aim at the Dortmund goal. The shot was sharp, but it didn’t beat the Dortmund keeper. In the 40th minute, a ball struck Dortmund’s Zulehle in the arm on a corner kick and the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) reviewed the play for a penalty. However, there was no intent to handball and no penalty was awarded. Dembele’s run up the pitch in the closing stages of the first half didn’t have much of an impact.
Paris Saint-Germain created a chance on the counterattack in the first minute of the second half. A Hakimi cross was met by a Dembele shot that caught Zouleh’s arm and a penalty was awarded. The referee took a second look with the video assistant referee (VAR) and the penalty was awarded without question. Mbappe slotted the ball past the Dortmund goalkeeper to give Paris Saint-Germain their first Champions League goal and the lead.
Dortmund took a step back after conceding the opening goal to Paris Saint-Germain. They were unable to maintain the same vigorous pressing and attacking tempo as in the first half. Paris Saint-Germain quickly regained possession with organized pressure on the Dortmund flank. In the 12th minute of the second half, Paris Saint-Germain added another goal. After advancing into the Dortmund half, Hakimi played a one-two with Vitinha and calmly struck an outside kick from inside the box that rattled the net.
Dortmund tried to attack Paris Saint-Germain with passing and movement, but they couldn’t get past Hakimi’s defensive wall. Paris Saint-Germain played a quick pass down the flank to Kolo Moani, who couldn’t get a touch on the ball. Dortmund brought on veteran midfielder Marco Reus to shake things up.
Dortmund tried to play aggressive penetrating passes and press forward after Royce’s introduction, but were unable to penetrate the Paris Saint-Germain backline and lost possession. With more space, the French trio (Kolo Moani, Dembele, and Mbappe) continued to attack Dortmund. In the 21st minute of the second half, Dortmund’s Royce had to swallow his disappointment when his shot bounced off Emre Can.
Lee Kang-in came on as a substitute in the 25th minute with 20 minutes to go in regulation time. Upon entering the fray, he attempted one pass to lubricate the Paris Saint-Germain attack. Although he was deployed on the flank, Lee was involved in the attacking midfield and exchanged passes with Mbappe. Paris Saint-Germain regained the initiative by breaking up Dortmund pressing and attacking with fluid passing. Lee’s steady ball-keeping and link-up play helped Paris Saint-Germain secure their first win in the Champions League.
For a while now, Paris Saint-Germain has had a superstar-studded team in Europe. From Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Lionel Messi, they’ve collected some of the best players in Europe. This summer, however, they changed course and turned to younger, more promising players.
There was also a conflict with key player Mbappe. He signed a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain last summer when his contract was about to expire. He signed a 2+1 year deal, with a one-year option for an extension that Mbappe could exercise. However, Mbappe did not want to re-sign until 2025.
Mbappe has until July 31 to exercise his option for a one-year extension. Mbappe has already informed Paris Saint-Germain that he will not renew his contract at the end of the 2023-24 season. Mbappe’s silence means he can officially negotiate with other clubs under the Bosman Rule next January and leave as a free agent in the summer.
Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said: “I am shocked to learn that Mbappe will leave the club as a free agent next season. Mbappe’s decision could weaken France’s biggest club. I’m really disappointed. I have to make a decision in the next two weeks. If I don’t sign a new contract, the door is open for me to leave,” he said in an official statement.
Fabrizio Romano pointed out that “Paris Saint-Germain believe they have reached a preliminary agreement with Mbappe”. Mbappe is disappointed with the decision to leave the club as a free agent next season. “Paris Saint-Germain have decided to sell Mbappe this summer,” according to multiple sources, including British publication The Guardian.
Global sports outlet The Athletic also reported that “Paris Saint-Germain want a transfer fee of more than 100 million euros ($141.1 million) to sign Mbappe this summer. For now, Paris Saint-Germain have left Mbappe out of their tour of Japan and have put him on the transfer market.”
Since they can’t sell Mbappe for zero next summer, they have resorted to appeasement. “Paris Saint-Germain has offered Mbappe a 10-year, €1 billion ($1.4 trillion) contract,” said Forbes, an American publication. If Mbappe accepts the offer, it would be the largest in sports history.” However, Mbappe did not respond to the offer.
Paris Saint-Germain then took a hard line. He played in the first match of the preseason, but did not join the team for the tour of Japan. When Paris Saint-Germain announced the 29-man squad for the tour on their official website, Mbappe’s name was nowhere to be found.
The club has pulled Mbappe from its new sponsor’s main model. “Paris Saint-Germain have removed Mbappe’s picture from their new sponsor poster,” wrote Madrid Universal. The club has made it clear that if he doesn’t sign a new contract, he won’t play for them next season.”
As Paris Saint-Germain and Mbappe drifted apart, a huge offer from Saudi Arabia came in. According to French publication L’Equipe, “Mbappe did not participate in any talks with the Al-Hilal negotiating delegation that was in Paris. Al-Hilal offered Paris Saint-Germain a transfer fee of €300 million (about KRW 42.3 billion).”
Paris Saint-Germain accepted Al Hilal’s offer, but “Mbappe’s representatives blatantly refused to hold discussions with Al Hilal’s negotiators. This means that Mbappe is not considering a move to Saudi Arabia. Al Hilal had agreed to pay Mbappe a total of 700 million euros ($987.5 million) in salary for one year. However, Mbappe refused to have any conversations with Al Hilal. He rejected the move to Saudi Arabia outright. Mbappe’s current favorite team is Real Madrid. Al Hilal were authorized to discuss a transfer with Mbappe when Paris Saint-Germain made a €300 million bid, but nothing came back to the table.”
The total of the transfer fee and salary adds up to 1.42 trillion. However, Mbappe refused to show his face to Al Hilal’s negotiators.
Global sports outlet ESPN also reported that “Al Hilal’s representatives made a move to sign Mbappe, but the player rejected the offer. Al Hilal are in Paris to sign Brazilian striker Maucombe, but Mbappe will not meet with officials. Al Hilal made a record bid of €300 million ($426.8 million) for Mbappe,” the report said.
“Mbappe will receive a €80 million bonus if he stays at Paris Saint-Germain this year. Paris Saint-Germain are leaning towards selling Mbappe now rather than letting him walk when his contract expires next year.”
Fabrizio Romano, an expert on the European transfer market, added: “Mbappe has rejected a deal with Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal. Al-Hilal offered Mbappe a fixed salary of 200 million euros ($282.1 million) and 100% image rights, but the offer went unanswered. Paris Saint-Germain are now convinced that Mbappe has a preliminary agreement with Real Madrid,” the source added.
“The end of the Real Madrid-Paris Saint-Germain drama is approaching, according to Spanish media outlet Marca. Real Madrid clearly hold the key to signing Mbappe. Paris Saint-Germain have agreed to sign him this summer if they offer €230 million. The deal could be finalized in a matter of days,” the report said.
“Mbappe believes it would be a big mistake to re-sign with Paris Saint-Germain. He has informed Paris Saint-Germain that he will not exercise his option to extend his contract until 2025. If he leaves for Real Madrid this summer, he will also forgo the bonus salary he is owed by Paris Saint-Germain.”
At the last minute, however, there were signs of reconciliation. The reason: French teammate Ousmane Dembele. “Dembele’s arrival has created a positive atmosphere for Mbappe,” the UK’s Mirror reported. In fact, Dembele and Mbappe watched the opening game on the pitch and had plenty to talk about. Mbappe decided to stay at Paris Saint-Germain, and the club announced his return to the first team.
Later in the day, Paris Saint-Germain announced the signing of Dembele on their official website. Dembele will wear the number 23 shirt for Paris Saint-Germain and has signed a five-year contract until 2028. “I’m very happy to join Paris Saint-Germain, I’m looking forward to playing in new colors and I hope I can continue to grow here and make all the club’s fans proud,” said Dembele on his arrival.
The announcement coincided with the release of Neymar, who had been rumored to be on the outs. Paris Saint-Germain announced their farewell to Neymar via the club’s official channels. After confirming the transfer to Al Hilal, the club sent a message of thanks, but the entire team and coaching staff said goodbye to Neymar at the club’s training center.
Photos and videos were released. Neymar approached his teammates warming up in the gym and high-fived them one by one. He did the same with Lee Kang-in, who was lying down and stretching.
Al Hilal announced the signing of Neymar on the club’s official channel with a message saying “fantastic talent is attracting everyone’s attention” and a short video. “I am here in Saudi Arabia. I am now an Al-Hilal player,” Neymar said, pointing to the Al-Hilal jersey emblem. Paris Saint-Germain also said goodbye to Neymar, reflecting on his career so far.
After missing the team’s preseason tour of Japan, Mbappe took the field as a substitute in the second round of the French Ligue 1. He looked like a key player as he energized a stifling Paris Saint-Germain side. He went on to prove his mettle in the Champions League.
Now, Lee will be leaving Paris Saint-Germain for a while and heading to Hangzhou in China. Coach Hwang Sun-hong and the federation have been in a tug-of-war over the release of key player Lee Kang-in. Since the Asian Games are not on the FIFA calendar, he needed permission from his club, Paris Saint-Germain.
French outlet L’Equipe said, “Lee Kang-in has been at the center of controversy in South Korea. But now he will finally compete in the Asian Games. He received permission from Paris Saint-Germain on Thursday. He will be traveling to China in the next few hours.”
“The decision was made through talks between the player, his agent and the Paris Saint-Germain club. Lee’s agent said, ‘We are grateful to the club for managing the situation and helping the player. We are all happy with the outcome,’ Lee said.”
European transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano added: “As I understand it, Paris Saint-Germain have given the green light for Lee to be sent to the Asian Games. Paris Saint-Germain is expected to send Lee Kang-in to the 2023 Asian Games.”
The Korea Football Association said in a press release on the 15th, “As a result of discussions with Lee Kang-in’s club Paris Saint-Germain, it was finally agreed on the night of the 14th that Lee Kang-in will join the Asian Games team after the club’s home match against Dortmund in the European Champions League on the 19th local time in France. Lee will travel to Hangzhou, China, to join the Asian Games team on Sept. 20,” said a statement from the Korea Football Association. 소닉카지노
“The Korea Football Association received an email from Paris Saint-Germain on the 13th to allow Lee to join the Asian Games on the condition of rescheduling the Asian Cup, and discussed with the Paris club until late at night on the 14th, and finally received an official response from the Paris club on the 14th to allow Lee to join the Asian Games team on the 20th without any other preconditions,” the statement continued.
Local reports gave conflicting timings, with Leciffe saying he would be traveling to Hangzhou, China in the coming hours to focus on preparations for the Asian Games, while Le Parisien said he would join the team on the 23rd. According to the federation’s announcement, he will join the team on the 20th but will most likely play as a substitute against Thailand on the 21st. It would be unreasonable to expect him to play in the group stage of the Asian Games when he hasn’t even found his feet after arriving in China. As reported by Le Parisien, he is expected to play from the third match of the group stage.