Paris Saint-Germain triumphed 3-1 away at Montpellier, putting them five points ahead of second place in the French league. World Cup champion Lionel Messi scored, and Kylian Mbappé missed two penalties before falling injured.
After missing a penalty and blasting the rebound over an open goal on his second attempt, Mbappé went down clutching his leg just beneath the right knee and limped off in the 21st minute.
The nature of his wound was not immediately known. As he headed to the locker room, cameras caught him caressing the back of his left leg. After telling Canal Plus that “he took a blow behind the knee,” PSG coach Christophe Galtier later indicated during a news conference that the injury did not appear to be significant.
What do you think it is? a bruise? For now, we just don’t know. Galtier remarked, “It doesn’t seem too dire.” As they say, “We’re not too worried.” Messi, an Argentine superstar, scored PSG’s second goal in the 72nd minute after Fabián Ruiz put the French club ahead in the 55th.
Messi finished the goal with a slick finish that was par for the course. A goal from striker Arnaud Nordin in the 89th minute and a third from 16-year-old replacement Warren Zare-Emery in stoppage time salvaged a tie for the home side.
“It’s my first goal in the top division, so I’m extremely thrilled,” Zare-Emery remarked after becoming PSG’s youngest goalscorer. He’ll be 17 years old by March, and he plays midfield.
Marseille won 2-0 away at Nantes, leapfrogging Lens by a point to take second place and an automatic berth in the Champions League, five points behind reigning champion Paris Saint-Germain. Lens suffered its first home league loss of the season, and only its second overall, to Nice by a score of 1-0.
This month, PSG travels to Monaco and Marseille for French Cup and Champions League games, respectively, and on February 14, they play Bayern Munich in the opening leg of their round-of-16 Champions League matchup.
The current streak for Marseille is 10 games. In the 58th minute, Marseille took the lead when central defender Joao Victor of Nantes scored an own goal while making a tackle on a charging winger, Cengiz Ünder, inside the box. Azzedine Ounahi, a new signing and midfielder for Morocco, scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time on his debut for Marseille.
In its previous seven games, Nantes had not given up a single goal. In the last eight league games, Igor Tudor has led Marseille to seven victories. Nice, in ninth position, gave Lens its first league defeat since October 9 thanks to a pair of goals from striker Gaetan Laborde.
Fourth-place To maintain its one-point lead over fifth-place Rennes, Monaco beat 19th-place Auxerre 3-2 at home, continuing its recent scoring run. As a team, Monaco has scored 13 goals in its last four league games, with goals coming from striker Wissam Ben Yedder and 17-year-old offensive midfielder Eliesse Ben Seghir.
Rennes blew out 18th-place Strasbourg 3-0 at home with to a brace from forward Amine Gouiri, while Lyon played Brest to a scoreless draw at home.
On Sunday, English striker Folarin Balogun scored an injury-time equalizer when Reims and PSG drew 1-1, then on Wednesday, he scored a hat trick as Reims defeated Lorient 4-2 to take over first place in the league’s scoring race. He leads the PSG striker scoring charts with 15 goals, one more than Kylian Mbappé.
Balogun, who began his professional career with Premier League club Arsenal, scored a hat trick—and nearly added a fourth—against goalkeeper Vito Mannone, who also got his start with Arsenal.
After scoring twice last weekend for Toulouse, Thijs Dallinga opened the scoring in a 4-1 victory over Troyes. Also, Clermont and Lille played to a scoreless tie, and last-place Angers lost 2-1 at home to another struggling Ajaccio team thanks to a goal from striker Mounam El Idrissy in the fourth minute of injury time. As of now, Angers has lost 13 consecutive matches, which is a French league record.