Deprived of several executives including Kylian Mbappé, PSG relied on the genius of Lionel Messi to get out of a bad situation against Toulouse (2-1), Saturday at the Parc des Princes during the 22nd day of Ligue 1, and avoid sinking into a negative spiral ten days before the shock against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Christophe Galtier had warned on Friday that in the absence of the prodigy of Bondy, unavailable three weeks after an injury contracted in Montpellier on Wednesday (3-1), the keys to the game would be entrusted to “La Pulga” Argentina. The Albiceleste world champion did not fail and took responsibility to deliver his team, still in difficulty as is customary since the end of the World Cup, on an unstoppable shot at the entrance to the penalty area (57th).
While PSG were in trouble with the opener from a free kick by Branco van den Boomen (20th), which was answered by a splendid strike from Achraf Hakimi (38th), Messi freed the Parisians and brought back some calm before three meetings of all dangers, Wednesday in Marseille in the Coupe de France, February 11 in Monaco in the league, and of course the long-awaited reception of the Bavarian ogre in the round of 16 first leg of C1, on February 14.
Messi’s 10th goal in L1, which allows the Parisian leader to temporarily have an 8-point lead over his Marseille runner-up, thus opportunely dispelled the doubts that were accumulating, despite the success brought back from Montpellier.
– Paris can breathe –
Faced with a failing game and a cascade of absentees (Mbappé, Neymar, Sergio Ramos, Presnel Kimpembe, Nordi Mukiele, injured, Marco Verratti, suspended), PSG was indeed hardly serene before welcoming unbeaten Toulouse for more than a month and one could legitimately wonder about the team’s ability to live without Mbappé, the man who scares the whole world.
Thanks to Messi, who could even have doubled the bet on a curled shot (75th) and a shot on the post after a nice slalom in the area (90th + 4), Christophe Galtier and his troops can breathe and wait with more serenity Verratti’s return from suspension and the seemingly imminent reinstatement of Neymar and Kimpembe.
Admittedly, the Parisian coach has still recorded a new physical glitch with the premature and tearful exit of Renato Sanches (13th), who will swell the infirmary. But the Portuguese midfielder, a very disappointing rookie from last summer with a crystal physique, had almost no chance of being established against Bayern. He takes away from the Parisians an option in the rotation when the matches follow one another every three days, but it is difficult to speak of a hard blow.
This match, which therefore seemed very badly embarked, finally smiled on the Parisians. And they can say a big thank you to Messi, who offered them a second victory in a row in the league and a little calm before the big deadlines to come.