Lionel Messi Scores Game-Winning Goal as PSG Overcome Toulouse

(AT- 5th Feb, 2023) On Saturday, Paris Saint-Germain, which was missing Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, came from behind to beat Toulouse 2-1 to consolidate their lead at the top of Ligue 1. Lionel Messi scored a superb second-half winner to win.

With half-time approaching, Achraf Hakimi curled in an equalizer with a free-kick from Dutch midfielder Branco van den Boomen to give mid-table Toulouse the lead.

A glorious first-time strike from Messi on his left foot just outside the area put PSG ahead just before the hour mark.

Messi’s goal was his 10th Ligue 1 goal and 15th for PSG this season after the World Cup winner stepped up in the absence of two other superstar attackers.

As a result, Qatar-owned club are now eight points clear at the top of the table from Marseille, which plays Nice on Sunday and is hosting PSG in the last 16 of the French Cup in midweek.

The thigh injury he suffered last Wednesday in Montpellier is expected to keep him out of that game and the Bayern Munich game on February 14 after he was ruled out for three weeks.

The 20-year-old Hugo Ekitike led the attack alongside Messi and Vitinha, with Carlos Soler and Vitinha providing support. Neymar missed his second consecutive game due to an apparent minor adductor problem.

In addition to Sergio Ramos’ injury, Renato Sanches had to walk off the pitch in tears after just 12 minutes of play.

Despite joining from Lille at the start of the season, the Portuguese midfielder has only started five games so far.

Danilo Pereira was moved up to midfield in place of El Chadaille Bitshiabu, who was partly responsible for PSG’s loss.

Bitshiabu brought down Zakaria Aboukhlal 25 metres from goal, and Van den Boomen scored from the free-kick with Gianluigi Donnarumma beaten.

Messi hit the post from a corner, and Toulouse had another goal disallowed for offside, before Hakimi scored seven minutes from half-time after collecting a Carlos Soler pass and cutting in from the right flank. From 20 metres, he curled a left foot shot into the far corner.

In the 58th minute, Hakimi set up Messi to make it 2-1 and the outcome was never in doubt from then on. PSG who have had some recent wobbles were well deserved winners.

Deep into injury time, Mikkel Desler forced Donnarumma into a good save before Messi hit the post again shortly before the end.

After Lyon visits Troyes, Rennes hosts Lille seeking its 11th consecutive home win in the league.

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