Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) produced a performance of champions as they downed Marseille 3-0 on their own turf in Ligue 1 on Sunday, February 26.
Marseille entered this contest on the back of an encouraging run of form that was bound to give them confidence. They have won four and lost one of their last five games across competitions.
Those wins included a 2-1 triumph over the same opposition in the French Cup round of 16. Having held on to defeat Toulouse 3-2 in their last league outing, OM were keen to continue their purple patch.
The Parisians, on the other hand, have lost three games sandwiched by two wins in their last five across competitions. Having gone down 1-0 to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League round of 16, PSG showed great character as they rallied to win 4-3 in stoppage time against Lille.
Christophe Galtier fielded a lineup featuring a back three, having lost at the Velodrome with a back four earlier this month.
Marseille made a decent start to the first period as they looked to use wide areas to attack. PSG started the game strong as well, looking sharp on the ball as they progressed up the field. Both teams attempted several shots but the hosts lacked accuracy in front of goal. The visitors, on the other hand, made the most of their chances.
Lionel Messi played Kylian Mbappe through in the 25th minute. The striker made space for himself on the edge of the box before firing a driven shot into the bottom-right corner to make it 1-0. The two stars then switched roles as Mbappe played Messi in on goal and he finished the chance to make it 2-0 in the 29th minute.
Nuno Tavares got into some great positions inside PSG's box but was unable to play a pass or attempt a shot on goal on two occasions, leaving Marseille with all to do in the second half. The visitors led 2-0 at the break.
Marseille made a good start to the second half as they looked to get back into the game. They made some intricate passing combinations but failed to get close enough to the goal to attempt a shot. PSG, however, picked up where they left off in the first period as their forward pair combined for a third goal. Messi played a lobbed pass towards Mbappe, who volleyed home to make it 3-0 after 55 minutes.
Alexis Sanchez had a great chance to score for Marseille as he rose to head the ball towards the far post. However, Gianluigi Donnarumma showed great reflexes to deny the Chilean on the goalline with an outstretched hand. Both managers then turned to their benches as they looked to freshen things up on the pitch.
The Italian custodian made another sharp stop to deny the hosts' January signing Vitinha in stoppage time to keep his clean sheet. PSG held their advantage as they secured a 3-0 win over Marseille. On that note, let's take a look at the Parisians' player ratings.
Donnarumma produced a classy display between the sticks for PSG as he made one save in the first half and five clutch stops in the second period to earn his clean sheet.
Ramos put in a solid defensive performance as he won six of his seven duels, making five clearances and two tackles.
PSG's captain was solid as usual in defense, making three clearances, two interceptions and two tackles. He also played three long balls and one key pass.
In another blow for Kimpembe and PSG, the defender was stretchered off the pitch after just 16 minutes as he suffered yet another injury setback.
Mukiele played well on the right flank as he won five of his nine duels, making three tackles and two clearances. He also played one key pass.
Ruiz had a decent game in midfield, distributing the ball with 85% accuracy, including one key pass. He won eight of his 18 duels, making six tackles and three clearances. However, he lost possession 13 times.
Vitinha put in a clinical performance in midfield after being in-and-out of the starting XI in recent weeks. He won six of his nine duels, making two tackles, one interception and one clearance. He also played two key passes.
Verratti was an engine in PSG's midfield as he had 88 touches of the ball. He won 13 of his 20 duels, making four tackles, two clearances and one interception. He also played four long balls and one key pass.
Mendes put in a hard shift on the left flank as he won nine of his 15 duels, making four tackles and one interception. He also completed 20 passes with 83% accuracy.
Mbappe started sharp and put his team ahead midway through the first half. He then provided an assist for PSG's second with a smart cross into the box. Mbappe made it a brace with a lovely volley on his left foot to beat Pau Lopez in the second half.
In doing so, the 24-year-old became Paris Saint-Germain's joint-top scorer with 200 goals, tied with Edinson Cavani, having played 54 fewer games than the Uruguayan.
Mbappé: 200 goals, 247 games
Kylian Mbappé is now PSG’s joint all-time leading scorer at 24 years old
Cavani: 200 goals, 301 gamesMbappé: 200 goals, 247 gamesKylian Mbappé is now PSG’s joint all-time leading scorer at 24 years oldCavani: 200 goals, 301 gamesMbappé: 200 goals, 247 gamesKylian Mbappé is now PSG’s joint all-time leading scorer at 24 years old ✨ https://t.co/kNwmMQEI1Y
Messi played a lovely pass for Mbappe to run onto and give PSG the lead in the 25th minute. He then scored with a good first-time finish just five minutes later as the Frenchman returned the favor with an assist. He played a dinked pass in the second half, assisting Mbappe for the Parisians' third.
Messi's goal was his 700th at club level and it was fitting that it came against PSG's arch-rivals.
@eurofootcom Lionel Messi has officially reached 700 club career goals. What a blessing it is to watch him.
Lionel Messi has officially reached 700 club career goals. What a blessing it is to watch him.🇦🇷⚡️ Lionel Messi has officially reached 700 club career goals. What a blessing it is to watch him. https://t.co/9Dagrfew16
Pereira replaced the injured Kimpembe in the first half and put in a solid performance. He won two duels, making three clearances and two interceptions. He also passed the ball with 88% accuracy.
Zaire-Emery came on in place of Mukiele for the final half hour of the game and played well.
Bernat came on with just over 15 minutes left to play and put in a decent display.
Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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