A Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe masterclass earned Paris Saint-Germain a crucial win in Le Classique on Sunday evening.
The pair combined for all three goals on the night as PSG moved eight points clear at the top of Ligue 1.
Marseille were surprisingly the much, much better team in the opening exchanges, playing with an urgency and enthusiasm that PSG seemed devoid of.
OM’s best opening in the oening 20 minutes would come courtesy of that urgency, as Nuno Tavares burst through on goal after some powerful running down the right flank. Just before he could shoot however, Nuno Mendes launched himself in front of the ball to deflect it clear of danger.
In pressing high up the park and piling on the pressure, Marseille left themselves vulnerable to counter attacks and, when Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi are in the opposition team, that probably isn’t a great idea.
With their first sniff at a counter, PSG made Marseille pay as Messi played through Mbappe who stormed into the box with the ball before firing past Pau Lopez.
Four minutes later it was 2-0, as Mbappe turned provider for Messi, drilling the ball beautifully across goal to the Argentine.
Rather amazingly, after scoring his 700th club goal, Messi would spurn a glorious chance to make it 3-0. The World Cup winner, with the goal gaping from six-yards out, side-footed over the crossbar when it seemed harder to miss. He’s human – who’d have thought it?
PSG continued to turn the screw at the start of the second half too, as Mbappe almost scored another in the 51st minute – heading a Vitinha cross just wide of the post.
Mbappe wouldn’t miss again however as, on the hour mark, Messi chipped the French star the ball on the left hand side the penalty area and he made no mistake with his finish, volleying into the bottom corner of the net with aplomb.
Les Parisiens’ superstar at the other end of the park – Gianluigi Donnarumma – would have his chance to shine too in the second half, reacting exceptionally well to get down to keep an Alexis Sanchez header out.
Donnarumma would be forced into a final save in the 90th minute, denying Vitinha from close range to keep his clean sheet.
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GK – Gianluigi Donnarumma – 7/10 – Made a stunning save in the second half to deny Alexis Sanchez.
CB – Sergio Ramos – 6/10 – Not really troubled at the back.
CB – Marquinhos – 6/10 – Got forward well on occasion.
CB – Presnel Kimpembe – N/A – Subbed off early with what looked like a serious injury.
RM – Nordi Mukiele – 6/10 – Worked hard on the flank.
CM – Fabian Ruiz – 7/10 – One of his more noteworthy PSG performances so far.
CM – Vitinha – 8/10 – Bar Messi and Mbappe, Vitinha was the best player on the pitch. Dominated the midfield.
CM – Marco Verratti – 6/10 – Tidy and as busy as ever.
LM – Nuno Mendes – 7/10 – A ‘tackle of the season’ contender on Nuno Tavares was his highlight.
ST – Kylian Mbappe – 10/10 – Scored with his first sight of goal, then played a sublime cross to Messi to double the lead. Bagged another in the second half and generally just looked completely unstoppable all evening.
ST – Lionel Messi – 10/10 – His inch perfect pass set up the opener, and he latched onto Mbappe’s stunning cross to make it 2-0. Added another superb assist in the second half. A ridiculous footballer.
SUB – Danilo Pereira – 6/10 – He didn’t have a whole lot to do.
SUB – Warren Zaire-Emery – N/A.
SUB – Juan Bernat – N/A.