PLAYER RATINGS | PSG 2-3 Clermont: Lionel Messi’s final game ends in defeat

Although it was the night Paris Saint-Germain lifted their record-breaking 11th league title, the champions’ final match of the season, at home to Clermont, was more than anything marked by messages of support for hospitalised goalkeeper Sergio Rico.

There was an early scare for PSG, as Grejohn Kyei bundled the ball in from close range – before the goal was ruled out for a handball, after a lengthy VAR check. The hosts would eventually open the scoring through Sergio Ramos – fittingly scoring on his final appearance, and just as the minute of applause for his fellow Andalusian began – before Kylian Mbappé scored his 29th of the campaign from the spot.

But the threats from Clermont wouldn’t let up, and the visitors’ constant pressure eventually paid off as Johan Gastien pounced on a slow backpass from Marco Verratti to halve the deficit from close range. The errors – both forced and unforced – continued for Christophe Galtier’s backline, and Mehdi Zeffane equalised just before half-time. The full-back, who made the most of Donnarumma’s spill, finished after some great work by Neto Borges down the left. 

Losing a two-goal lead ostensibly wasn’t enough to shake the hosts up, and Clermont’s attacks gained in incisiveness, while Maxime Gonalons and Gastien decisively won the midfield battle. They would take the lead through Kyei ten minutes after the start of the second half – after a move that was brilliantly set up by Gonalons’ run forward and switch out wide.

In the end, Christophe Galtier’s men will have won the league by a solitary point – their win against ten-man Lens in April having grown in significance with each passing matchday. The final half hour was effectively a concentrate of the team’s problems this season – a lack of understanding between players, no clear attacking plan, and defensively at sea. A monumental reconstruction beckons this summer for the champions. For Messi, meanwhile, a night that started in booing as his name was called out as part of the lineup, proved scarcely any better on the pitch – the Argentine’s barely mobile performance summed up by a missed chance when he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

The headlines, though, should really be focusing on Clermont – on one of the lowest budgets in the league, Pascal Gastien has managed to haul the team into a first-ever top half finish, ending the season with 8 wins in 10 games. Despite losing key players over the summer – Salis Abdul Samed and Mohamed Bayo – the veteran manager’s philosophy remains the same, and the results only keep improving.

PSG player ratings

Gianluigi Donnarumma, 4

Warren Zaïre-Emery, 5

Danilo Pereira, 5

Sergio Ramos, 6

El Chadaille Bitshiabu, 5

Achraf Hakimi, 5

Marco Verratti, 4

Vitinha, 6

Lionel Messi, 3

Hugo Ekitike, 3

Kylian Mbappé, 5

Clermont player ratings

Mory Diaw, 6

Alidu Seidu, 5

Mateusz Wieteska, 6

Maximiliano Caufriez, 6

Mehdi Zeffane, 6

Johan Gastien, 7

Maxime Gonalons, 8

Neto Borges, 6

Muhammed Cham, 5

Elbasan Rashani, 6

Grejohn Kyei, 7


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