Choupo-Moting’s title-winning season will be overshadowed by horror miss

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting PSG
Franck Fife
Paris Saint-Germain finally have the title wrapped up, but the Cameroonian's shocking miss will be his stand-out contribution

The champagne had to stay iced a little longer than was initially expected, but finally Paris Saint-Germain are French champions for the eighth time in their history.

Lille’s slip-up away at Toulouse on Sunday made sure of it, just when it had begun to seem like PSG would never win another match.

It also marked a first ever title of his professional career for striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who joined only last summer, and has already begun to reap the benefits of associating with success.

However, whatever elation he may feel or have felt in the moment of realization would quickly have dissolved. It was, after all, the 2-2 draw against Strasbourg – more to the point, that miss – that halted PSG’s almost robotic march to the title earlier this month.

Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting Francois Kamano PSG Bordeaux Ligue 1 09022019

It was the miss to end all misses: endlessly replayed, relayed and ridiculed all over the world, the ultimate expression of snatching nothing from a bag full of something.

That it came days after that improbable collapse against Manchester United in the Champions League, and on the same ground, made it seem like the most apposite distillation of PSG’s identity as bottlers.

What made it worse was that the finish by Christopher Nkunku was almost certainly rolling over the line.

It is generally accepted that strikers require a certain level of selfishness in order to truly hit the heights, and he would not be the first to attempt to steal his teammate’s thunder: Andrej Kramaric also famously denied teammate Ishak Belfodil a hat-trick last month by touching a goal-bound effort over the line.

Christopher Nkunku Caen PSG Ligue 1 02032019

However, to be so inelegant at it, to contrive to miss in such bumbling fashion, was unforgivable.

The idea of Choupo-Moting at PSG has not quite hit home, either for the fans or for the football world, so removed was he from their usual cadre of targets.

As such, he has not been taken too seriously: instructively, with both Neymar and Cavani unavailable in the Champions League, manager Thomas Tuchel elected to play Kylian Mbappe upfront on his own, not the most optimal use of the prodigy, rather than put the Cameroon international in.

So far this season, he has managed three goals in 19 appearances for PSG, and interestingly more of those involvements have come in the second half of the league season, i.e. as the title has seemed increasingly inevitable.

However, it is one thing to be a slight figure of fun – it can even be endearing, after a while – and quite another to so actively play up to the image.

Whatever the thought process was for Choupo-Moting, he will forever be associated with that miss, more so than the title that he worked so artfully to delay.