It was a title-winning performance from Christophe Galtier’s men on Sunday night at the Stade Vélodrome, seeing off a dynamic Marseille side in convincing fashion. As always when it comes to the big occasions, Kylian Mbappé was the matchwinner.
The end-to-end start to the match – Nuno Tavares in particularly causing trouble to the PSG defence – was overshadowed by Presnel Kimpembe’s sudden injury, the Frenchman being stretchered off after pulling up short on a sprint. Just as Marseille continued to impress, it was Kyliain Mbappé – who else? – who pounced on a Lionel Messi through ball to finish off a devastating counter-attack. The Frenchman stepped up again minutes later with a pin-point low cross to hand the Argentine a open-goal finish.
It was another one-two with Messi that set up Mbappé’s second – his 200th for PSG, equalling Edinson Cavani as the club’s all-time top scorer. The hosts were effectively down and out by the hour mark, and Igor Tudor was made to pay for his disjointed set-up that led to PSG dominating the midfield. A frail defence – characterised by Éric Bailly’s struggles against a ruthless Mbappé – was contrasted by a tireless forward line. Alexis Sánchez and Ruslan Malinovskyi came close to orchestrating a consolation goal several times, but an imposing Gianluigi Donnarumma held his ground.
In getting their own back after the Coupe de France defeat earlier this month, the league leaders take a giant leap towards retaining the title – going eight points clear – and taking some pressure off the under-fire Christophe Galtier. If Mbappé and Messi can dismantle this Marseille team so effectively, there’s no reason why that partnership can’t lead the way in Munich in two weeks’ time.
PSG player ratings
Gianluigi Donnarumma, 7 – A sensational stop from what looked to be an Alexis Sánchez back-post finish the highlight of a game that did see a few shaky moments, notably as he wandered out of his box in the first half – a solid performance overall.
Nordi Mukiele, 6
Sergio Ramos, 6
Presnel Kimpembe, N/A – The Frenchman suffered yet another injury blow at the very start of the game as he went down after sprinting – a devastating turn of events for the centre-back, just as he returning from the issue that kept him out of the World Cup. Replaced by Danilo Pereira.
Nuno Mendes, 7
Marco Verratti, 6
Fabián Ruiz, 6
Vitinha, 7 – Arguably his best performance since the turn of the year, and a perfect response to growing internal and external criticism. Won the majority of his duels and was a key contributor in PSG’s attacks, combining well with the forwards as he lined up in a more familiar position as the right-sided central midfielder.
Lionel Messi, 7 – An all-action attacking performance from the Argentine, who showed a dramatic improvement on last week’s performance against Lille. Constantly combined with Mbappé and orchestrated the visitors’ counter-attacks to devastating effect,. PSG’s success this season will depent on his link-up with his former World Cup final.
Kylian Mbappé, 8 – There was an air of inevitability about the Frenchman showing up tonight – Mbappé raises his (already very high) standards when it comes to the big occasion, and a title showdown for the Classique was no exception. A goal and an assist in quick succession put a swift end to Marseille’s early sign of promise, while he once again combined with Messi for the third after the break to seal the three points. Had a few close chances to grab a hat-trick, notably when he was played through on goal just before the break.
Marseille player ratings
Pau López, 4
Leonardo Balerdi, 3
Éric Bailly, 2 – The Manchester United loanee was constantly left in the dust by Kylian Mbappé, and had at least some of the fault on all three goals. Brought off on the hour mark for Jonathan Clauss as Igor Tudor reverted to a more conventional backline, but at 3-0 down the damage was already done.
Sead Kolašinac, 4
Cengiz Ünder, 4
Valentin Rongier, 4
Jordan Veretout, 4
Nuno Tavares, 3 – Decisively came out worse the battle against his compatriot Nuno Mendes, although deployed on an unfamiliar right flank. An erratic performance saw the Arsenal loanee carve out the first two chances of the game, before proceeding to lose the ball 20 times as well as the majority of his duels.
Ruslan Malinovskyi, 5
Mattéo Guendouzi, 4
Alexis Sánchez, 5 – Tudor’s set-up meant the Chilean, save for the team’s strong opening 20 minutes, was even more isolated than usual. He nevertheless came closest to finding the net as he met a Malinovskyi cross in the second half, only to be denid by a fingertip Donnarumma save.
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin