Reims went toe-to-toe with the Ligue 1 leaders and, for the second time this season, come away with a point. Will Still remains unbeaten since taking charge after setting up his side to attack the game adventurously, Folarin Balogun’s last-gasp equaliser sealing a draw after Neymar’s opener.
The Champagne side began the match going toe to toe with the league leaders, collectively pressing PSG into mistakes and building out from the back with the verve that has defined Still’s short stint in charge so far. Folarin Balogun saw a handful of chances come his way, but Gianluigi Donnarumma was mostly untroubled.
The second half would see PSG’s fortunes turn around, as a Messi pass into the box bounced off Achraf Hakimi on its way to Neymar, catching the Reims defence off guard and allowing Neymar a one on one with the goalkeeper, which he dispatched confidently, to open the scoring.
Christophe Galtier’s men would avoid a penalty decision – the referee’s initial call for Marquinhos’ tackle in the box overturned by VAR over an offside position – but not before Marco Verratti was sent off just ten minutes into his return from injury for a dangerous challenge on Junya Ito. The ten-man PSG would kick on though, first being denied on the goal-line before Achraf Hakimi’s finish was ruled out for offside. Reims would not be discouraged, though, and Balogun’s 96th minute equaliser would be a deserved reward for their efforts. For PSG, it was a far from convincing showing – one that kicks off a gruelling month with their entire season on the line
PSG player ratings
Gianluigi Donnarumma, 6 – Some impressive stops in the first half hour, when it was all Reims – spare a shaky first thirty seconds when Reims collectively pressed him into a mistake, it was a decisive performance from the Italian.
Achraf Hakimi, 6
Sergio Ramos, 5
Juan Bernat, 4
Fabián Ruiz, 5
Carlos Soler, 4
Lionel Messi, 4 – A rather muted return to action for the Argentine, who was rested for the cup game against Pays de Cassel. Did provide the through ball which led to Neymar’s goal, but was otherwise unable to link up with his attacking partners as we are accustomed to.
Neymar, 7 – Something of a return to form after his post-World Cup slump, as the Brazilian looked the most active of PSG’s front three and reacted quickly to make the most of Hakimi’s deflection for the opening goal, expertly rounding the goalkeeper and finishing in style. Also showed some solid work rate in tracking back.
Kylian Mbappé, 4 – The Frenchman not at the races tonight and unable to have much of an impact on play – some wayward passing and lack of incisiveness his undoing against a very solid defence.
Reims player ratings
Yehvann Diouf, 5
Thomas Foket, 6
Emmanuel Agbadou, 6
Yunis Abdelhamid, 8 – Imperious performance from the veteran, who mostly kept PSG’s right flank quiet – including Achraf Hakimi, no less! – all the while showing adventure in going forward.
Thibault De Smet, 6
Azor Matusiwa, 6
Marshall Munetsi, 6
Junya Ito, 6
Jens Cajuste, 6 – A very efficient performance from the Swede, who along with the rest of his midfield partners was consistent in winning his duels, especially in the first half.
Alexis Flips, 5
Folarin Balogun, 7 – The Arsenal loanee with some good work leading the line and constantly causing trouble for the PSG defence – he finally took his chance in emphatic fashion at the very end, latching onto a through ball and confidently beating Donnarumma to seal a deserved point for his team.
.GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin