Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) rallied until the dying embers to secure a 4-3 win over Lille in Ligue 1 on Sunday, February 19.
Lille entered this contest on the back of two wins, two defeats, and one draw in their last five games across competitions. They won a thrilling contest against Rennes with a 3-1 scoreline before defeating Strasbourg as they picked up six points from their last two in the league. The fifth-placed team were looking to put in a strong performance tonight.
PSG, on the other hand, have lost three and won two of their last five games across competitions. They suffered three consecutive defeats for the first time this season, losing to Marseille, Monaco and Bayern Munich in the span of one week. However, with multiple players back from injury, Christophe Galtier has named a strong lineup for this game.
📋 The starting XI for #PSGLOSC
🔴🔵 #AllezParis pic.twitter.com/bYGt1ShUaC
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) February 19, 2023
The hosts made a strong start to the game and raced to a one-goal lead after just 11 minutes. Neymar set-up Kylian Mbappe, who applied the finishing touches to put PSG 1-0 up. Lille edged the hosts 56 to 44 in possession stats, attempting 11 shots and hitting the target four times in the first period.
However, fortunes did not favor them as the Parisians doubled their lead after 17 minutes, with Neymar grabbing a goal via an assist from Vitinha. The hosts faced a setback soon after as they conceded a goal in the 24th minute. Andre Gomes played a pass towards Bafode Diakite, who scored to make it 2-1. To make things worse, Nuno Mendes hobbled off with an injury shortly after.
However, PSG carried a 2-1 lead over Lille at the break.
⏸️ HALF-TIME: Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Lille! 🔴🔵
⚽️ @KMbappe 11′
⚽️ @neymarjr 17′#PSGLOSC I 2-1 pic.twitter.com/8OilL4tjR4
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) February 19, 2023
PSG faced another major injury blow within five minutes of the game restarting as Neymar went down after feeling immense pain in his ankle. After some treatment, the player was subbed off and was in tears as he may be set for a considerable amount of time on the sidelines. Things got worse for the hosts as Lille were awarded a penalty soon after, which their top-scorer Jonathan David converted with ease.
PSG turned to their bench as they made a triple change which led to a shift of momentum in their favor. This allowed them to pile the pressure on Lille late in the game as they created chances. Juan Bernat provided an assist for Mbappe to level the game with three minutes left to play. Lionel Messi then stepped up and scored a sublime free-kick in the 95th minute to seal the deal.
The hosts held on to secure an all-important win. On that note, let’s take a look at the five talking points from the game.
#5. PSG are being hit with nearly one injury per game
In recent weeks, the Parisians simply cannot seem to get rid of the injury bug as they have missed at least one key player in each of their games. Whether they start and are forced off or not involved at all, Galtier has faced a real headache with a very thin squad.
They suffered two more setbacks in the same department today as Nuno Mendes and Neymar had to be subbed off in either half due to injuries. With both of them key players in defense and attack respectively, it will be interesting to see how PSG cope should the pair face long layoffs.
#4. Lille showed great determination to stay in the game
Usually when PSG score inside the first 15 minutes of a game, they run riot and blow their opponents out of the water within the first halves of games itself. Despite being two goals down midway through the first half, Lille showed great character and did not panic as they continued to play their natural game.
This helped them regroup and maintain composure as they found themselves a lifeline with a goal in the 24th minute to get back into the game. They did well to keep themselves in the game, setting themselves up for a fight in the second half.
#3. PSG risk derailing their entire season if they don’t bounce back
Having made a scintillating start to the campaign, the Parisians ended 2022 on a tear, winning 10 consecutive games across competitions prior to the World Cup break. However, since returning, they have been nowhere near touching those heights as they struggle to roll over teams they are expected to defeat.
With four defeats in their last 10 games, PSG are now entering one of the toughest phases of their season with multiple competitions coming thick and fast each week. While they already trail 1-0 to Bayern after the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 clash, the Parisians are also losing ground on potential title challengers in Ligue 1.
#2. Galtier’s triple-change shifted momentum
Christophe Galtier made a triple substitution around the 75-minute mark. Vitinha, Timothee Pembele, and Fabiaz Ruiz were subbed off while Warren Zaire-Emery, Carlos Soler, and Danilo Pereira came into the game.
The trio offered PSG added solidity in central areas, making them immune to late counter-attacks by Lille as they had enough personnel to cover in defense.
#1. Lionel Messi wins it at the death
With seven minutes of time added to the end of the second half, PSG fans were cheering loudly for their team as they tried to rally them on to grab a winner. Enter: Lionel Messi.
The Parisians were awarded a free-kick about 25 yards from goal, towards the right side. The Argentine stepped up and guided a low, curling effort into the bottom-right corner, squeezing it past Lucas Chevalier in goal.
LIONEL MESSI FREE-KICK IN THE 95TH MINUTE FOR THE WIN 🐐 pic.twitter.com/WieU5r2CgP
— GOAL (@goal) February 19, 2023