Just ten days after being disappointed in the World Cup final, Kylian Mbappé saved Paris Saint-Germain with a last-minute penalty as his side beat RC Strasbourg 2-1 in the League on Wednesday.
Mbappé, who found himself on the losing side against Argentina in the showpiece Qatar 2022 final despite a hat-trick, appeared to suffer no ill effects in his first game for PSG since the World Cup.
The 24-year-old stepped in to score the winner from the penalty spot in the 96th minute, with virtually the last kick of the game.
Marquinhos had given PSG a first-half lead but the defender then inadvertently scored an own goal after the break.
With hopes of victory fading, Mbappé used his speed and movement to get behind the Strasbourg defense before being clumsily knocked down from behind.
With Messi yet to return from celebrating his World Cup victory in Argentina, Mbappe converted the penalty himself to put PSG eight points clear at the top of Ligue 1.
Mbappé’s goal also saved Neymar Jr.’s blushes after the Brazilian was sent off in humiliating circumstances earlier in the game.
Neymar has been warned twice in as many minutes, the second for a dive in the Strasbourg area. The 30-year-old Brazil international threw himself down despite no contact from the defender, as he had earlier in the match.
It was a testament to Mbappé’s mentality that he was back to winning games for PSG just over a week since arguably the biggest disappointment of his career.
France were beaten by Argentina in arguably the greatest final in World Cup history despite Mbappe’s heroics at the Lusail stadium.
Fans inside the Parc des Princes welcomed Mbappé by chanting his name throughout Wednesday’s game and the superstar is keen to carry on for the rest of the season.
“It makes you feel good. I thank the fans,” he told PSG TV after Wednesday’s game.
“When you come back from a situation like I had at the World Cup, it always warms your heart to know that you are back home and it makes you really happy.”
Messi is not expected to return from his celebrations until PSG’s next league game against Lens on Sunday.