PARIS : Monaco’s 1-1 draw at Paris St Germain on Sunday was another reminder of the spending power of Russian billionaire owner Dmitry Rybolovlev and suggested the promoted team has the potential to challenge for the Ligue 1 title.
While Qatari-backed PSG dominated the clash between two of Europe’s biggest spenders of the summer, Monaco came away from Parc des Princes still top of the standings, and the first visiting team to create so many chances at the venue in some time.
The roughly 170 million euros splashed out in transfers by Rybolovlev have already paid off with 14 points from six games and with Radamel Falcao the joint top scorer with five goals following his equalizer on Sunday.
Having fielded a younger team than PSG, including five players aged 21 or less in the starting lineup, the principality has plenty of reason for optimism.
Although PSG prevailed in the midfield due to the skilled Marco Verratti and solid performances fromThiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi, Monaco had their own weapons in wingers Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco and Lucas Ocampos.
The two youngsters have formed efficient combinations with full backs and exciting prospects Fabinho and Layvin Kurzawa, and Coach Claudio Ranieri boasted they had all learned a lot on Sunday.
“Before the game, I was curious, I wanted to see my players against great players,” he told the post-match news conference.
“We are young and we have a long way ahead of us. But I’m satisfied. Our reaction (after the goal) was very good; we showed a lot of heart, of mental strength. This team has a good future.”
“Before the game, I told my players that the result was not important for us. I just wanted to see how they would behave with three games within a week,” Ranieri said.
“I want my team to play more calmly, to try to keep the ball but it was hard, there was a lot of pressure, high on the pitch. So this game is good for us because at the end, it was still balanced and Monaco tried to win until the end.”
PSG also fought hard to the finish and may feel frustrated with the outcome given the amount of chances they created, which included an injury-time header from Edinson Cavani, one of the two summer signings to start the match for PSG compared to Monaco’s five.
Having given several opportunities to Javier Pastore, Blanc dropped the inconsistent Argentine playmaker from the starting 11 in favor of playing three midfielders, and it paid off.
PSG had their best match of the season last weekend at Bordeaux with that format and the combination of Motta, Matuidi and Verratti in the midfield on Sunday once again showed it could be the key for a bright future.