(Surprise Sports Desk Report) – On Saturday, PSG came from behind to defeat Toulouse 2-1 and consolidate their lead at the top of Ligue 1 with a superb second-half winner from Lionel Messi.
Midfielder Branco van den Boomen gave Toulouse the lead from a free-kick in the 20th minute, but Achraf Hakimi scored the equalizer before halftime at the Parc des Princes.
Just before the hour mark, Messi put PSG in front with a stunning first-time strike on his left foot from just outside the box.
In place of PSG’s two other superstar attackers, Messi scored PSG’s 10th Ligue 1 goal of the season and 15th for the club this season.
The Qatar-owned club has now opened up an eight-point lead over Marseille, which plays Nizza on Sunday and then hosts PSG in the last 16 of the French Cup in midweek.
As a result of a thigh injury suffered during last Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over Montpellier, Mbappe will miss that match and the Champions League last-16 first leg against Bayern Munich on February 14.
With Neymar missing a second consecutive game with an apparent adductor problem, Messi was left to lead the attack, with Hugo Ekitike and Vitinha providing support.
But Christophe Galtier’s team also suffered from injury, with Sergio Ramos unable to play and Renato Sanches forced to leave the field in tears after just 12 minutes.
At the start of the season, he started for only the fifth time since joining the club from Lille.
In his place, he was replaced by El Chadaille Bitshiabu, with Danilo Pereira moving into midfield, and the substitute was partly responsible for PSG’s loss.
As a result of Bitshiabu’s foul on Zakaria Aboukhlal, Van den Boomen sent the resulting free-kick low into the left corner of the net, with Gianluigi Donnarumma beaten, to score the winning goal.
The home side drew level seven minutes from half-time after Messi hit the post from a corner and Toulouse had another goal disallowed for offside.
Hakimi collected a Carlos Soler pass from the right flank. He cut in from the right flank and curled a left foot shot from a distance of 20 metres into the far corner.
During the 58th minute, Hakimi turned provider as he set up Messi to make it 2-1 for PSG. PSG, who have had some recent struggles, deserved to win the match.
Substitute Mikkel Desler forced a fine save from Donnarumma deep into injury time before Messi hit the post again at the end of the game.
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