Lee Kang-in, 22, praised Kylian Mbappe, 25, for his birthday celebration.
PSG won 3-1 at home against FC Metz in the 17th round of the 2022-2024 French Ligue 1 season at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France, on Sunday (Sept. 21). With the win, PSG moved to the top of the league with 40 points (12 W, 4 D, 1 L). Metz, meanwhile, suffered their fourth straight defeat and failed to climb out of mid-table.
Lee Kang-in, who started at left midfield, assisted the opening goal with a sharp cross early in the second half. It was his second Ligue 2 assist and first in about a month and a half since his last one against Montpellier. After being deployed as a left midfielder in the first half, Lee moved up to the wing in the second half, and his offense really came alive.
In the fourth minute of the second half, Lee won the ball on the left flank, beat a defender and sent in a left-footed cross. Vitinha, who was rushing into the box with a defender hanging on, slid in with his left foot to finish. The goal silenced the local criticism that has been heaped on Lee in recent days.
According to soccer statistics outlet Footmob after the game, Lee only had one shot on goal on the day, but he made three key passes to open up chances for his teammates. His passing success rate was 94% (51/54). As a corner kicker, Lee took four corner kicks. POTM gave Lee an 8.3 rating, the third highest on the team. Only Mbappe (9.2) and Vitinha (9.1) had higher ratings than Lee.
“Lee Kang-in, who scored the assist, took to the microphone,” said Culture PSG, a PSG news site, “He enjoyed the game and celebrated Mbappe’s wonderful goal.”
“We knew before the game that it was going to be a tough game,” Lee told French broadcaster Canal Plus. But I think we found the right solution to beat Metz. We scored three goals. We will continue to work hard in the future.”
After the opening goal, the PSG offense intensified. A revitalized Mbappe was also on the scoresheet. In the 15th minute of the second half, Mbappe picked up the ball on the left side of the box and fired a shot into the opposite corner of the goal that rattled the net. After celebrating his 25th birthday, Mbappe hugged Lee and shared his joy.
Mbappe scored again in the 27th minute to put the game out of reach after Metz’s surprise equalizer. In the 37th minute, a Metz defender played a backpass towards the keeper. Mbappe quickly intercepted it and split the goal with a right-footed shot. The goalkeeper was left helpless.
When asked for his reaction to Mbappe’s first goal, Lee said, “We are used to seeing Mbappe’s feats. But it’s still impressive (every time I see a goal),” he praised.
When asked if he would celebrate his birthday with Mbappe, he said, “I don’t think I’m going to go out to party. We’ll see what happens.”