Player ratings as Mbappe & Messi inspire crucial win


Paris Saint-Germain took a massive step towards winning the Ligue 1 title once again with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Lens on Saturday.

An early red card for the second-placed visitors set up what would ultimately be a comfortable win for PSG as first-half goals from Kylian Mbappe, Vitinha and Lionel Messi saw the Parisians open up a nine-point lead at the top of the table.

Lens made a nice start to the game and sparked excitement after just a few minutes, with an Angelo Fulgini cross forcing a diving save from Gianluigi Donnarumma.

It took the ball-dominant PSG a little while to get going and their first real sight of goal came shortly after ten minutes. Some excellent work from Mbappe on the right wing led the Frenchman to the box, and his cut-back to Lionel Messi on the edge of the area set up a strike which was crucially blocked by a desperate Facundo Medina.

Unfortunately for the visitors, their mission was made significantly harder when, with 18 minutes on the clock, they went down to ten men as midfielder Salis Abdul Samed was shown a straight red card for a nasty lunge on Achraf Hakimi.

Despite Lens’ attempts to try and stay on top of proceedings after the red card, they were soon behind as Mbappe’s effort went crashing in off the right post. It was his 139th goal for the club, breaking the team’s all-time top scoring record in the process.

With spirits broken, PSG added a second just a few minutes later. Vitinha, who assisted the opener, struck from distance to double his side’s lead, but fans were celebrating a third before they had even sat down again.

Messi and Mbappe played a glorious one-two, with the latter’s backheel breaking the lines and sending the Argentine through on goal, and Messi was never going to miss.

The half-time break was well-received by Lens, who came out after the interval with a renewed sense of vigour as they tried to recover some of their pride.

That ambition was rewarded with a penalty on the hour mark after Fabian Ruiz was deemed to have handled the ball, and Frankowski made no mistake from 12 yards.

Lens tried to build on that momentum but, despite the best efforts of Lois Openda, could not do more to fight their way back into the game.

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma – 7/10 – Wasn’t really needed until late on to keep Openda at bay.

CB: Marquinhos – 6/10 – Looked a little nervy when put under pressure but will have been thankful to see that press fade away.

CB: Sergio Ramos – 7/10 – Controlled Lens’ threat well, whether in the air or on the ground.

CB: Danilo Pereira – 7/10 – Moved up into midfield when in possession and that overload, especially after the red card, proved vital.

RM: Achraf Hakimi – 6/10 – Not as active down the right as you’d expect, perhaps because he was crunched for the sending off.

CM: Carlos Soler – 5/10 – Not Soler’s best performance. Found it hard to get involved.

CM: Vitinha – 8/10 – A really impressive performance with a fantastic goal.

CM: Fabian Ruiz – 6/10 – Fine. Nothing more than fine. Needs to step it up if he wants to stay at PSG.

LM: Nuno Mendes – 8/10 – A massive threat down the left. Always looked capable of grabbing an elaborate assist or two but bagged a simple one for Vitinha.

ST: Kylian Mbappe – 9/10 – Really came to life after the red card with both a goal and an assist in the first half.

ST: Lionel Messi – 8/10 – Roamed around in midfield to pull the strings and finished off a glorious move with Mbappe.


Juan Bernat (77′ for Mendes) – 6/10

Warren Zaire-Emery (88′ for Marquinhos) – N/A


Christophe Galtier – 5/10 – Needed the red card to get PSG on top but didn’t always look convincing even then. This game was decided by moments of magic from his players, rather than any tactical genius.

GK: Brice Samba (4); CB: Jonathan Gradit (5); CB: Kevin Danso (5); CB: Facundo Medina (6); RM: Przemyslaw Frankowski (7); CM: Salis Abdul Samed (2); CM: Seko Fofana (7); LM: Deiver Machado (6); AM: Adrien Thomasson (5); AM: Angelo Fulgini (6); ST: Lois Openda (6)

Substitutes: Florian Sotoca (6), Jean Onana (6), Massadio Haidara (5), David Costa (N/A)

Player of the match – Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

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