PARIS -- Folarin Balogun ended his goal drought with AS Monaco at four games in a 5-2 defeat away at Paris Saint-Germain on Friday in Ligue 1's big clash of the round. The USMNT striker was unable to prevent the principality side from allowing the French champions to lead twice and pull away with the draw a bridge too far after Takumi Minamino had equalized for the visitors.
Goncalo Ramos and Kylian Mbappe scored either side of the Japan international's first half leveler with the Portuguese and Minamino's goals aided by major goalkeeping errors. Balogun was not to benefit from one of Donnarumma's misplaced passes, although he was unlucky himself that the Italian goalkeeper was saved by the linesman's flag early on to deny Vanderson's follow-up.
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Ousmane Dembele's stunning first goal since joining PSG from Barcelona this past summer, a sumptuous Vitinha strike and Randal Kolo Muani's late effort put paid to Monaco's hopes of a result at Parc des Princes. However, Balogun was alive to a Minamino assist to pull one back for Les Monegasques to halve the deficit at 4-2 just when it looked as if the away side were out of it.
The American's composed finish, despite a largely frustrating game will boost his confidence which had looked in short supply in the French capital for much of the encounter. Brief glimpses of Balogun's ability were visible in forcing Donnarumma to palm into Vanderson's path for the disallowed goal early on but also when he threatened to turn Milan Skriniar inside out.
"We knew it was going to be difficult," said Balogun postgame of a result which Hutter likened to scoring four own goals. "That is just how it is and now we must concentrate on what is coming next. We need to rewatch the game to see what we can do better. We made a few mistakes and that is why it finished the way it did for us."
It was harder work in the second half with the 22-year-old clearly visibly aware of his growing goal drought when the sort of marginal offside call that he would thrive on trying to beat spooked him. His finish was not undeserved, though, given Monaco's struggle to create the necessary service for him individually despite enjoying regular openings collectively which often fell to Minamino.
The former Liverpool and Red Bull Salzburg man was the key figure for Adi Hutter's side despite an in-form Aleksandr Golovin, so it was no surprise that Minamino scored and later turned provider for Balogun. Both sides had key figures missing with Youssouf Fofana's absence through suspension for ASM arguably more of a handicap than PSG missing injured wonderkid Warren Zaire-Emery.
Brazilians Marquinhos and Caio Henrique are regulars for their respective sides and were also missing but that was not enough to dampen what turned into a feast of goals. Wissam Ben Yedder's introduction as a second half substitute saw Balogun given a strike partner to pair with, which brought an increase in work rate and a defensive contribution which merited recognition.
Overall, though, Balogun took his chance when it came, but Monaco did not do enough to prevent PSG from ripping them apart with some opportunist finishes. The Brooklyn native is back in the goals now and can switch his sights to games against the likes of Stade Rennais and Olympique Lyonnais between now and the winter break as Les Monegasques seek to bridge the six-point gap at the top.