Marauding Mateo: goal-hungry forward shines for Paris FC
Last month’s Player of the Month is showing how far she’s come by impressing on and off the field, writes Martin Whiteley.
Clara Mateo rounded off a great week as part of the Paris FC team that fought back to beat Reims 2-1 on Saturday.
It comes after the talented forward made history by becoming the first Blues star to win a Division 1 Feminine Player of the Month award with 50.56 per cent of the votes for February’s accolade.
Coach Sandrine Soubeyrand’s side have emerged as the team most likely to be crowned best of the rest this season — and Mateo has been integral in this.
Born in Nantes, the attacker joined her present club aged 18 ahead of the 2016-17 campaign — their final one under the Juvisy name — from La Roche-sur-Yon.
At the same time as the signing of Mateo, Juvisy also recruited experienced forward Marina Makanza. The hope was that the young starlet could use the more seasoned performer as a sponge to soak up information.
That plan finally came to fruition in the 2020-21 campaign.
Beginning every Division 1 Feminine game, Mateo found the net on 13 occasions. Not only did she help her team in scoring, but she also finished joint-third in the league charts, tied with PSG’s Kadidiatou Diani and Nikita Parris of Lyon.
On 27 November 2020, Mateo made her full debut for the France national team when she replaced Delphine Cascarino in their 3-0 home win against Austria. Four days later, the Paris FC player netted her first senior goal. Coming off the bench, she bagged the final tally in a 12-0 win on home soil versus Kazakhstan.
This season Mateo has continued to add to her growing reputation.
A starter in every league game the third-placed side have played, the 24-year-old’s goal return has already reached double figures. She has also contributed to the team’s play with half-a-dozen assists.
Away from the pitch, Mateo excels academically too. She spends part of her week working as a business developer for the league’s title sponsor, Arkema. She is also an ambassador for the company.
At the weekend, Paris FC came back from a goal down to move onto 40 points with their sixth straight league win after a dramatic 2-1 victory at Reims.
It was not without controversy, as substitute Ouleymata Sarr headed home a corner five minutes into second-half stoppage time. The hosts disputed whether it should have been a corner. The referee talked with her assistant and a delegate from the league — they do not have any fourth officials.
Finally, after showing a red card to Reims’ Sonia Ouchene for her protests, the game was allowed to restart.
Kethna Louis had given the home side the lead just past the hour mark. Mathilde Bourdieu levelled things up five minutes later.
Teamwork allows individuals to shine. If Paris FC can keep up their performances, it should certainly not take as long for another of their players to get rewarded with a Player of the Month trophy.
Follow Martin on Twitter @673martin
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