PARIS: Paris St Germain earned their first win of the Ligue 1 season as Julian Draxler headed home deep in stoppage time to give the depleted French champions a 1-0 home win over Metz on Wednesday.
PSG’s disciplinary problems continued, however, as they had another player sent off after three were dismissed in Sunday’s ill-tempered defeat by Olympique de Marseille, including world record signing Neymar.
France striker Kylian Mbappe was also out due to testing positive for COVID-19 and Thomas Tuchel’s under-strength side struggled to break down Metz, whose goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja made a series of saves with his feet to keep out the hosts.
PSG were further frustrated by the sending-off of defender Abdou Diallo in the 65th minute for a second yellow card, which was followed by an injury to full back Juan Bernat that left them with nine men as Tuchel had made three substitutions.
But PSG, beaten Champions League finalists last month, continued to search for a first goal of the season and finally got one thanks to the determination of Angel di Maria and the opportunism of Draxler.
Di Maria trapped a long ball down the left wing and cut inside, producing a stinging cross which keeper Oukidja spilled into the air.
German Draxler pounced to head into the unguarded net, providing much relief to the home fans who were scattered across the Parc des Princes due to social distancing measures.
“We missed so many great chances but the players showed a great mentality and they ran like crazy. We will savour this match for a long time,” Tuchel said.
Moments before Draxler’s goal, Metz came agonisingly close to finding an unlikely winning goal when Youssef Maziz broke into the area but side-footed wide of the target.
“From the start we knew this was going to be a very difficult match right until the end,” PSG defender Marquinhos said.
“We are still recovering and we wanted to break them down long before we did but it was so important to win, especially as we were at home and after losing the first two games.”
Having lost their first two matches of the campaign to Lens and Marseille, PSG are 15th in the Ligue 1 standings on three points after three games.