Sti the Ligue 1 podium has not moved in terms of positions, the noose is tightening between Lens, 2nd, held in check by Strasbourg (2-2), and Marseille, easy winner of Troyes (2-0) , which is worth two lengths in the standings. OM also took advantage of their defeat to Rennes earlier in the day to secure third place, synonymous with qualification for the Champions League preliminary round. Another match from the leading trio: PSG, which saw the return of their world champion Lionel Messi, didn’t have to force themselves to beat Angers (2-0). Neymar is back too. Paris won the honorary title of winter champion.
And the Parco dei Principi was able to acclaim Messi… Crowned world champion in mid-December with Argentina against Kylian Mbappé’s France, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was warmly welcomed by the Parisian public for his return to competition on Wednesday evening during the 18th day of Ligue 1. And despite a long match to define, the party was complete since PSG tamed the red lantern on goals from Hugo Ekitike (5th) and Messi (72nd), giving the satisfaction of taking the lead in the middle of the championship.
READ ALSOPSG want a bigger stadium than the Parc des PrincesThe Parisians have 47 points, six more than Lens (41 points), who will no longer be able to join the capital club on the last day of this weekend’s first leg. What to approach with appetite the shock against Rennes on Sunday, where Christophe Galtier’s team should be able to recover Mbappé, rested after a few days off.
Lens stumbles, electroshocks in Strasbourg and Nice
The Mathieu Le Scornet effect! Newly appointed coach of Strasbourg, the former assistant of Julien Stéphan allowed the Alsatians to obtain a deserved draw against Lens (2-2), slowing down the dolphin in his quest for the podium. Annoying for RC Lens, who remained in L1 with a prestigious victory against PSG (3-1) and lost several match points.
At the Meinau stadium, goals rained down in the first half hour, with Alexis Claude-Maurice (11th) and Loïs Openda (33rd) for Lens and Sanjin Prcic (13th) and Kevin Gameiro (16th) for Strasbourg . Transfigured, the Alsatians finally showed a fighting face after a nightmare start to the season punctuated by a single victory. The electroshock also worked for Nice and its new coach Didier Digard, Lucien Favre’s successor: the Aiglons crushed Montpellier 6-1 with braces from Nicolas Pépé and Ross Barkley in particular!
Rennes sees red, Marseille runs away
Beaten 2-1 on the Clermont lawn, Rennes can be wrong, because Bruno Genesio’s team held the 1-1 for a long time, Arnaud Kalimuendo (74th) had responded to Grejohn Kyei (31st), before going down to nine against eleven on a goal after extra time signed by Johan Gastien (90th + 5). The Bretons’ lack of composure sealed the end of the match: red cards for Benjamin Bourigeaud (77th) and Warmed Omari (83rd), two notable absentees on Sunday to welcome PSG. “I’m very pissed off about the script,” Genesio summed up.
This defeat benefits Marseille, which consolidates third place (39 points): the Olympians, at the debut of their Ukrainian rookie Ruslan Malinovskyi, won in Troyes thanks to Chancel Mbemba (10th) and Jordan Veretout (46th).
Or the fifth consecutive victory, in all competitions, obtained under the eyes of Philippe Diallo, new interim head of the French Football Federation after the retirement of the controversial president Noël Le Graët.
Behind Rennes (4th, 34 points), Monaco recovered (5th, 34 points) by breaking the 2-2 draw at Lorient (6th, 32 points) on goal saved by Wissam Ben Yedder, captain registered in the bench (90° +3). Finally, Lille (7th, 31 points) are three points behind Rennais despite the draw against Brest (0-0), which marked the debut in Ligue 1 of their new coach Eric Roy.
Lyon does not accelerate, Toulouse curries Auxerre
OL failed to do better than a goalless draw (0-0) against FC Nantes (14th) and stagnated in the underbelly (8th, 25 points), ten days after the home defeat against Clermont (1-0). “Regularity, we don’t have it yet,” complained Lyon coach Laurent Blanc.
For its part, Toulouse punished Auxerre (5-0), which sinks into the red zone (18th). This is Auxerre’s fourth consecutive L1 defeat, which isn’t very reassuring before they take on Lens on Saturday. TFC are 12th, just behind Reims (11th, 24 points), who beat Ajaccio 1-0 thanks to marshal Munetsi (3rd).