PSG’s Lee Kang-In (C) laughs as he talks to Kylian Mbappe (L) and Achraf Hakimi after missing the Ligue 1 2023-2024 regular season round 13 home match against Monaco at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France, May 25. PARIS | Reuters
[PARIS (Reuters) – ‘Golden boy’ Lee Kang-in, 22, who has been flying high between club and country, took a breather as Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) thrashed AS Monaco to consolidate their lead at the top of the French Ligue 1 table.
Lee was named to the substitutes’ bench for PSG’s home match against Monaco in the 13th round of the 2023-2024 regular season at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France, on Sept. 25 (KST), but did not take the field.
He also recorded a goal and two assists in the two Asian qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup North and Central America in Singapore on June 16 and China on June 21, making it four consecutive A-match points in the tricolor.
Lee, who won a gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou last month and received military service benefits, has taken his game to the next level with the addition of wings.
PSG head coach Luis Enrique had left Lee on the bench after he returned to the club’s A-League match against China, considering the long flight.
However, he was not utilized on the day as PSG easily beat Monaco 5-2.
PSG took the lead in the 18th minute through Gonzalo Hamus.
They conceded a left-footed equalizer four minutes later to Japan international Takumi Minamino, but regained the lead in the 39th minute through Kylian Mbappe’s penalty kick.
Monaco fought back, but PSG broke the deadlock in the 25th minute on the counter-attack when Ousmane Dembele broke into the penalty area and slotted home an exquisite shot from the right corner.
With momentum in their favor, PSG extended their lead to 4-1 two minutes later with a mid-range effort from Vitinha.
Having received a de facto knockout punch, Monaco pulled a goal back in the 30th minute when Paulin Balogun found the back of the net from a Minamino pass, but they were unable to get any closer.
Rather, they had the last laugh in second-half stoppage time when Randal Colomuani scored his team’s fifth goal of the campaign from the spot.
PSG remains in first place with nine wins, three draws, and one loss (30 points), opening a four-point gap on second-place Nice (26 points).
Monaco remain in third place with 24 points.
PSG returns home to face Newcastle (England) in the fifth leg of their UEFA Champions League group stage tie at 5:00 a.m. on Oct. 29.
After resting, Lee is expected to start against Newcastle.
He chatted with Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi after the game, looking upbeat and showing a strong sense of camaraderie.
His bromance with Mbappe on the training field has also been noteworthy recently, and after the Monaco game, he gave Hakimi a playful kick.