It was an evening of respite for Paris Saint-Germain, as the league leaders brushed off-pitch controversy to one side to all but secure the title against their closest rivals in Lens. Despite a valiant showing from the Sang et Or, an early sending off and a 15-minute flurry of PSG goals would seal their fate, with Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé both stepping up for the occasion.
The first twenty minutes saw chances at both ends, with Franck Haise’s men pressing the hosts high up the pitch to great effect. That intensity, though, would be their eventual undoing, as Salis Abdul Samed’s rash challenge onto Hakimi’s ankle saw him duly sent off.
A patient PSG would open the scoring through Mbappé on the hour mark, the forward playing a one-two with Vitinha before a quick turn in the box and a finish offf the post. With that strike, the Frenchman became the club’s all-time top scorer in Ligue 1, overtaking Edinson Cavani, with 139 goals.
Vitinha would double the lead minutes later, with a ping of a shot into the bottom corner for his first goal since moving to the French capital. Lionel Messi carried on the late-half rout with a finish from a tight angle after a slick one-two with Mbappé – the Frenchman backheeling it into the Argentine’s path – to complete Lens’ dismantling.
The visitors would nevertheless stay true to their principles in the face of adversity, and kept attacking at the start of the second half. They were eventually rewarded on the hour mark, as Frankowski converted a penalty after a handball from Fabián Ruiz. The remainder of the half would see Haise’s men carve out more chances than their opponents – Openda in particular constantly proving a threat – but to no avail. A record-breaking eleventh Ligue 1 title is now coming into view for PSG – but it’s been far from convincing.
PSG player ratings
Gianluigi Donnarumma, 6
Achraf Hakimi, 6
Marquinhos, 4 – An evening to forget for the Brazilian, who was decidedly outdone by Loïs Openda’s pace throughout, even if the Belgian was unable to capitalise on the chances he carved out for himself. Did well to recover on a few occasions where the forward flew past him. Was substituted towards the end of the game for Warren Zaïre-Emery.
Sergio Ramos, 6
Nuno Mendes, 7
Fabián Ruiz, 5
Carlos Soler, 6
Lionel Messi, 7 – The Argentine was back to his best for the big occcasion – a goal late in the first half after an incisive one-two with Mbappé rounding off a performance that saw him orchestrate most of PSG’s attacks. Evaded Lens’ second-half attempts at pressing him in his typical silky style.
Kylian Mbappé, 7 – A well-taken finish for the hosts’ first and a sensational backheel to assist Messi’s goal late in the first half. Save for a few PSG forays forward, the Frenchman was somewhat absent outside of that 15-minute blitz – which was nevertheless enough for a crucial three points.
Lens player ratings
Brice Samba, 5 – Could have done better to keep out Vitinha’s shot from range in the first half, which admittedly took a slight swerve before going in. Did well to keep the score down in the second half, as his team were pushing forward to get back into the game.
Facundo Medina, 4 – A mostly solid performance, barring a mistake for Mbappé’s goal – a poetic turn of events given his pre-match comments about sending the Frenchman home “in an ambulance“.
Jonathan Gradit, 5
Kevin Danso, 5
Deiver Machado, 4
Séko Fofana, 6
Salis Abdul Samed, N/A – Sent off after twenty minutes for a high, studs-up challenge on Achraf Hakimi, undoing his team’s good work until then.
Przemysław Frankowski, 6
Angelo Fulgini, 5
Adrien Thomasson, 5
Loïs Openda, 6 – Continuously proved a threat down the right, despite being isolated up front.
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin