Reims: match notes


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On two defeats in the last five Championship matches, Paris Saint-Germain saw RC Lens come back to just two points from their throne as leaders. Back at the Parc des Princes with his Messi-Neymar-Mbappé trio, Christophe Galtier’s men were then to have Stade de Reims, which has not lost since last September, against Monaco (3-0).

However, as for a few weeks, PSG started this meeting with the handbrake and suffered the offensives of the trio Balogun, Ito and Flips, very active at the start of the match in front of a vigilant Donnarumma (11th and 17th). But faced with the great intensity of Reims, Paris was unable to deploy its game and for twenty big minutes, the Red and Whites clearly took the upper hand over PSG.

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But in the second half, when Reims played high in the Parisian camp, Messi inherited the ball in the box and could strike. The Argentinian saw his shot being blocked, before Neymar recovered and opened the scoring, dribbling Diouf (1-0, 51st). But while one might think that Paris had done the hardest part, a terrible gesture from Verratti on Ito forced the VAR to intervene. The Italian was sent off less than ten minutes after coming on.

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Reduced to ten, PSG suffered the enemy assaults, but the attack of Reims lacked accuracy in front of the goal. At the end of the match dominated by Reims, Paris thought they could hold the victory, but on poor control from Sanches on the last action of the match, Balogun made his speed speak and won his duel in front of Donnarumma to equalize (1-1, 90th+7). The Parisians concede a draw and keep three points ahead of Lens (2nd), before going to Montpellier. The Stade de Reims, 11th, achieves a perfect hold-up and remains undefeated, before playing against Lorient, during the next day.

Man of the match: Folarin Balogun (8): in a meeting where PSG outrageously had the monopoly of the ball, the player on loan from Arsenal was able to improve the few cartridges he had at his disposal. He quickly set the target with two good sequences (9th, 11th) and gave Marquinhos and Ramos a hard time with his sharp calls. He is also rewarded with his 11th goal of the season, where, in added time, he leaves Marquinhos, Ramos and Donnarumma on the floor. He turned leftovers into a hearty feast.

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  • Donnarumma (6): from the 30th second, the Italian goalkeeper scared himself with a very bad recovery in the axis which very nearly led to the opener of the Reims score. In the first period, he nevertheless avoided drama on several occasions with inspired parades on Folarin Balogun (11th), Junya Ito (15th) and Marshall Munetsi (15th). He was very vocal in the second half to remotivate his defense, especially when PSG played ten after the exclusion of Verratti.

  • Hakimi (7.5): still just as important in the offensive climbs, he had great combinations with Messi, especially in the second half, but his goal was finally disallowed for an offside position (65th). Of his 79 attempted passes, he missed… only three, a rate of 96%. Really essential on the right side of Paris. He was also involved in most of PSG’s attacking opportunities touching over 105 balls. No fouls committed, little waste in his game. Good ball protection, clean play without risk in his side. The most solid and complete Parisian. Big volume.

  • Sergio Ramos (5.5): nice return on Munetsi (38th) in the last curtain but apart from that, the legend of Real Madrid has often been overtaken by accelerations from Reims. Nevertheless, he was important in the aerial game with a double header from a corner (63rd) and often caught the blow as a last defensive resort with a total of five clearances, a blocked shot and two recoveries.

  • Marquinhos (3.5): author of a gesture of anti-game on Ito who went against, he received a yellow card in the first period (28th). As for several months, the captain of PSG absolutely did not seem serene, solid and reassuring. The VAR also saved the day since he almost conceded a penalty if Balogun was not offside (56th). Marqui also took a lot of risks in the raises, which almost led to loss of ball. He lacked vocal presence also as captain.

  • Bernard (3): defensively, the Spanish side was too easily overtaken or taken in the back, especially during the action of the red card / canceled penalty (54th) or the speed of Ito. Late in attack, he struggled to combine, to be present in the Parisian offensive opportunities.

  • Carlos Soler (3.5): the Spanish midfielder has generally been much too discreet, even not very useful in the offensive construction of PSG and in the protection of the low block. He touched few balls but lost most of them. Substituted for Danilo in the 63rd minute who loses his duel of the head on the equalization of Reims.

  • Vitinha (4.5): high volume of play in the first half with 70 balls touched and 94% of his successful passes, unfortunately in a sterile offensive game. The Portuguese ran a lot but in a vacuum, often looking for his place during the offensive attacks in Reims. Substituted for Verratti in the 45th minute who logically took a red card for a very nasty dangerous tackle on Ito (54th), validated by the VAR.

  • Fabian Ruiz (5): discreet but clean, the Spanish environment missed very little. Touching 63 balls, he completed most of his passes with a total of 94%. A special role in the heart of the Parisian game. Without shining, he didn’t have a lot of waste and that’s already a good point tonight, when PSG were in great difficulty. Substituted for Sanches in the 69th minute who showed a certain passivity on the surrender of Warren Zaire-Emery which led to the equalizer (90th + 6).

  • Neymar (7): like his other comrades in the attacking trio, the start of the match was indeed complicated on a collective level. He touched few balls and most of his attempts came to nothing despite a good rate of successful passes or duels won in the first period. But he quickly took over. The Brazilian took advantage of Messi’s blocked shot to open the scoring on his team’s first shot on target, securing the shot with a good dribble past Diouf (51st). Le Ney also showed a certain combativeness, especially when PSG played with ten, like this physical blow before serving Messi in the area (84th). A real good performance, a complete match, in the oven and in the mill. The Brazilian released a successful performance with few false notes. Replaced by Warren Zaire-Emery (85th) who was at fault for a bad header on the Reims equalizer.

  • Messi (5.5): the Argentinian world champion stood out well near the surface of Reims in the first period but neither Mbappé nor Neymar managed to combine well or find it. Symbol of Parisian inefficiency in the first moments of the meeting. He was not bad because he missed very little. Always available, his calls and shifts were decisive in the combinations, especially with the wings, to find teammates in the spaces. Unfortunately, too inefficient for a player of his caliber.

  • Mbappe (4): often coveted in the first period, he struggled to make good decisions in the Parisian attack, while his team pointed at the break with a single shot attempted: either he lost the ball or he was countered. A difficult first act for Mbappé. At the final whistle, we count more than 20 lost balls for the French international and most of his duels have been lost. A complicated evening for Mbappé.


  • Diouf (4.5): in the first period, the former doorman of Troyes was never worried, nor even asked. On the other hand, he had to bow as soon as he returned from the locker room to Neymar, who easily eliminated him (65th). Serene about his ball catches (63rd, 79th), he closes his angle well in front of Mbappé (83rd).

  • Foket (5): the Belgian international delivered a decent performance. With Mbappé as a direct opponent, the menu was plentiful, but he was able to hold his rank. He also did not hesitate to free himself from his role as a defender by offering a few good crosses (15th, 37th).

  • Agbadou (6.5): on the defensive aspect, the Ivorian defender knew how to close the shop. Intractable, he won many duels (12th, 19th, 20th, 45th, 69th) and made a decisive tackle in front of Mbappé (89th). With the ball, he didn’t seem embarrassed either, offering himself several slammed passes between the lines. A solid performance overall even if he gets a cold from Mbappé (83rd)

  • Abdelhamid (6): the seasoned Moroccan defender made a clean copy. Well tuned with Agbadou, he closed the gaps when the Parisian threat became pressing (37th, 42nd, 48th). On the other hand, he offers himself an astonishing climb which exposes his team just before the break, fortunately at no cost. We logically felt borrowed at the end of the meeting where he ended up on the ropes physically against Hakimi.

  • From Smet (5): back in the Reims group this evening, the Belgian delivered a serious and diligent performance. In perfect execution, he respected the game plan enacted by Will Still, namely to contain Hakimi’s duplication. After the opening of the Paris score, he exposed himself more by multiplying the climbs, which allowed Hakimi to swallow the spaces. Several decisive interventions (28th, 32nd).

  • Matusiwa (6): the former Ajax Amsterdam player has been impressive with his ability to repeat efforts. In the first half, he kept his team on the grill thanks to his tackle which annihilated a possible goal action from Neymar. In terms of communication, the violins were frankly tuned with Munetsi, which perfectly complements the tandem.

  • Munetsi (6.5): Stainless. The Zimbabwean international has continuously magnetized and fueled his team’s situations. From the start, he set the tone by going to recover a ball in the 20 Parisian meters, before raking in many others (45th, 62nd). He displayed an impressive volume of play by constantly projecting himself into the Paris area. Ball at the foot, he also strolled his quiet strength (90% of successful passes) Replaced by Doumbia (75th) who is clairvoyant on his decisive pass for Balogun (90 + 6th)

  • Ito (6.5): the former Genk player has often shown accuracy in his choices. His clever moves, his permutations have turned Bernat’s head, and his little bridge is a delight (54th). In the first period, he was not far from opening the scoring with a nice volley (15th). As often this season, the Japanese was very disciplined, especially in his defensive tasks. It was he who caused the expulsion of Verratti (59th). Replaced by van Bergen (83rd) who was very close to scoring his first goal in Ligue 1 on a superb strike at the entrance to the surface (90th)

  • Cattle (5): vital in the first period when his technical quality was a real oxygen mask, the Swede slowed down in the second half, contenting himself mainly with focusing on his defensive tasks. Replaced by Lopy (83rd)

  • Flips (6): the former Lille player showed himself to his advantage in his left lane. He was at the origin of many situations in Reims and often knew how to generate danger through his crosses (4th, 17th). He did not shy away from the effort either, constantly lending a hand to De Smet. Also the author of a heroic double rescue in front of Ramos (64th). Replaced by Zeneli (75th)

  • Balogun (8): see above

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