Paris Saint-Germain’s unbeaten run came to an end on New Year’s Day, as they fell to a Lens side that has firmly established themselves as their likely title challengers.
The hosts struck first as Frankowski finished off an impressive, sweeping move at the back post, before Christophe Galtier’s men equalised minutes later as Hugo Ekitike bundled in from close range – despite Lens claiming the young forward had kicked the ball out of Brice Samba’s hands, the goal was allowed to stand.
But the PSG defence continued to struggle, and Loïs Openda took full advantage of that when Séko Fofana set him away on the counter, leaving Sergio Ramos in his wake, and chopping inside before finishing past Donnarumma to give the hosts the lead again. A frail and open defence would be carved open yet again at the start of the second half, as Openda found Alexis Claude-Maurice with an exceptional backheel in the box to set up the forward for a close-range finish.
Franck Haise’s men once again had the champions’ number, and now go up to within four points of the Parisians after a festive evening. The club was celebrating its annual Sainte-Barbe match, honouring the patron saint of miners in reflection of the club’s industrial heritage – they’ve dug up a famous win tonight.
Gianluigi Donnarumma, 5
Achraf Hakimi, 4
Sergio Ramos, 3 – Appeared unable to keep up with Lens’ lightning-quick counters and changes in direction – left in Openda’s wake for the second goal.
Nordi Mukiele, 5
Marco Verratti, 5
Fabián Ruiz, 4 – Scarcely at ease in the midst of the Lens pressing machine, and lost the ball in front of the penalty area in the build-up to the third Lens goal.
Carlos Soler, 4 – Understandably unable to replicate Neymar’s influence, but being the link between PSG’s midfield and attack does seem like to extensive a role for the Spaniard, who had little impact to speak of before being replaced by Ismaël Gharbi.
Kylian Mbappé, 5 – Shackled by an imposing Lens defence and struggled to create much on his own, despite his best efforts – PSG’s attack somewhat disoriented in the absences of Neymar and Lionel Messi.
Hugo Ekitike, 6 – Scored his second goal for the club but was unable to have more of an impact on the game. Replaced by the 16-year-old Warren Zaïre-Emery, who made a good impression.
Brice Samba, 6 – Scrambled for Hugo Ekitike’s goal, but made up for the error and proved decisive for the rest of the game, notably with a sensational point-blank save from Pablo Sarabia’s header.
Jonathan Gradit, 7
Kevin Danso, 7
Facundo Medina, 7
Przemysław Frankowski, 7
Séko Fofana, 7 – Once again, the midfield maestro is the game-changer against Paris Saint-Germain and the architect of his team’s lightning fast transitions – showing once again he is among the league’s best. A pin-point assist for Openda the highlight of his performance.
Salis Abdul Samed, 6
Massadio Haïdara, 6
Florian Sotoca, 6
Alexis Claude-Maurice, 7
Loïs Openda, 8 – Kept both Marquinhos and Sergio Ramos occupied throughout, wheeling away from the Spaniard before getting past the Brazilian to score in the first half, before setting up the third.
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin