Messi guides PSG, young people lead Lyon, Lille stops Rennes

Without Neymar or Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi guided Paris SG with a luminous goal against Toulouse (2-1) on Saturday February 4 for the 22e day of Ligue 1, marked by the rebound of a rejuvenated Lyon in Troyes (3-1) and the exploit of Lille in Rennes (3-1).

>> L1: Monaco and Lille fly over, Montpellier and Angers sink

>> L1: Paris SG falls again, in Rennes

>> Ligue 1: Paris regains victory but loses Mbappé

PSG star Lionel Messi against Toulouse, February 4, 2023 at the Parc des Princes.

Without Neymar or Mbappé, Messi guides Paris

Paris, long muzzled, has not solved all its problems and all its inaccuracies, but this success signed Messi will do good for Christophe Galtier’s team: PSG consolidates its first place in L1 (54 pts) before the classic against Marseille on Wednesday February 8 in the Coupe de France, but above all ten days before the European clash against Bayern Munich.

In the absence of Mbappé (thigh), absent until the end of February, and without Neymar (adductor discomfort) or Marco Verratti (suspended), Paris struggled to tame Toulouse, which led to the Parc des Princes after a nice free kick from Branco van den Boomen (20th).

But a shot from the clear left of Achraf Hakimi (38e) put Paris back on track, before Messi, shifted by Hakimi, gave PSG the advantage of his “special“, this strike close to the post from the entrance to the surface (58e). The seven-time Ballon d’Or also found twice the amounts.

Lionel Messi took over the leadership of this team“, estimated Galtier at the end of the meeting. “He was a very important locomotive“.

The only downside, the Parisians again suffered an injury, that of Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches, and they only owed their salvation to several saves from goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma…

At least they ensured the essential, the victory, before a tough series of matches: Marseille in the Cup, Monaco in L1, Bayern in C1, then Lille and again OM in L1.

Lille’s Edon Zhegrova (right) equalizes in Rennes, February 4, 2023.

Lille ends Rennes’ invincibility at home

After ten consecutive victories at home in L1, Stade Rennes ended up falling at home: Bruno Genesio’s team saw their series come to an end after a thrilling match against Lille (3-1), another contender for European places.

At Roazhon Park, Losc thought they were taking the tide after an early goal from Amine Gouiri scored 27 seconds into the game.

But Lille reacted: Edon Zhegrova ended up equalizing after a delicious heel from Angel Gomes (59e), before being a decisive passer for Rémy Cabella (85e) then André Gomes, who closed the score with class (90e+3).

This defeat does not suit Rennes (5e40 pts) which is stagnating behind Monaco (4e41 pts), opposed to Clermont on Sunday at midday, and missed the opportunity to return to Marseille (2e46 pts) and Lens (3e45 pts), competing respectively against Nice and Brest on Sunday evening February 5.

Lille (6e38 pts), meanwhile, is nibbling behind the Bretons.

The Lyonnais Rayan Cherki (left) in the fight with the Trojan Lucien Agoume, February 4, 2023 at the Aube stadium.

Lyon’s youth breathe new life into OL

Capable of the best and the worst this season, Lyon regained some momentum by winning at Troyes thanks in particular to Bradley Barcola (20) and Rayan Cherki (19).

Three days after their sad draw against Brest (0-0), Laurent Blanc’s team scored before the break by Barcola, for their very first goal in L1 (43e). Then Cherki drove the point home after a solitary breakthrough (59e).

The reduction in Rony Lopes’ score (62e) nevertheless brought back doubt in the minds of Lyon, before the deliverance, a clear strike from Alexandre Lacazette in the skylight (90e+3).

The young people are there to help the team“, savored Lacazette at the microphone of Amazon Prime Video. “We have to chain matches, victories, and then we can say that we are treated. But we’re too irregular right now“.

This success allows OL (8e32 pts) to temporarily reposition themselves in the first part of the classification, while Troyes (16e19 pts) remains in difficulty.