March 22, 2023

Paris Saint-Germain let themselves be joined at the last second by Reims (1-1), who well deserved their point, and confirmed their bad pass in Ligue 1, Sunday for the 20th day.

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And the Reims bench exploded, its young trainer Will Still (30 years old), first, overjoyed. Taking advantage of a bad back pass from the boy Warren Zaire-Emery (16), Florian Balogun went to beat Gianluigi Donnarumma in a duel (90th + 6).

The Parisians, ten since the 59th minute and the exclusion of Marco Verratti, have cracked, they do not distance their pursuers, also held in check the previous days. Lens (2nd) is three lengths away, and Olympique de Marseille (3rd) at five.

But Still’s men, undefeated for thirteen games, did not steal it. Having become number one since October 13 after the withdrawal of Oscar Garcia, and confirmed in his position before the start of the World Cup, the Belgian made his team play boldly, and it was rewarded.

PSG have not found fluidity in their game, Christophe Galtier’s main objective at the moment. A somewhat lucky goal from Neymar (51st) was not enough.

Verratti, fourteen minutes and a red

PSG failed to fully reactivate the combinations between its three stars. Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé searched for each other for more than 90 minutes, but the magic of the “MNM” never really shone on Sunday evening. They sketched a few dance steps together, like this counter in the 77th minute, without finishing the movements well.

The Parisian collective game even paled in comparison to that of Reims, and the trio often got entangled in the nets of the Reims rearguard, until the goal, where a strike from Lionel Messi involuntarily deflected by Achraf Hakimi arrived on “Ney”.

The turning point of the match came with a double decision corrected by the video referee, a hard tackle from Marco Verratti on Junya Ito where the card changed from yellow to red, but Ruddy Buquet also canceled the penalty he had given the following seconds for a preliminary offside (58th).

The Italian midfielder, who was returning from injury, only came on at the break in place of Vitinha. His match lasted fourteen minutes…

After this double fact of play, the match changed, unexpectedly at first. The Rémois, so patient until then, rushed and found themselves much more often in danger.

Reims played

It took a big save from Yehvann Diouf in front of Kylian Mbappé (62nd) and the crossbar on a header from Sergio Ramos (64th) to prevent Paris from doubling the lead, ten against eleven.

Achraf Hakimi also thought to score, but he was offside (65th).

The Champenois regained their discipline to threaten Donnarumma’s cage again, through Folarin Balogun (73rd) or a shot just past Mitchell van Bergen (90th).

On the last moments, goalkeeper Diouf even went up to try to snatch a point.

Reims have always tried to play good football on Sunday night. His players shone, in particular Balogun, author of his 11th goal in L1, and the central hinge, formed by captain Yunis Abdelhamid and Emmanuel Agbdaou.

The most prominent was Marshall Munetsi, the sheriff of the Reims attack who pushed the Italian goalkeeper to a good save (17th) and attempted a nice return (29th) then a heel, countered by Sergio Ramos (38th).

Beaten on goal, Donnarumma is another subject of concern, his kicking game was still very average, and from the first minute when a full-axis recovery has already failed to benefit Balogun. PSG still have a lot of work to do.

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