Paris Saint-Germain surrendered a 2-0 lead on Sunday night as Troyes fought back to earn an exciting 2-2 draw at the home of the Ligue 1 champions.
In a draw that extends PSG’s unwanted winless run to three consecutive draws, Mauricio Pochettino’s men continued to display frailties at the back but clearly began the game as they meant to go on, immediately showing some real class going forward.
A lively start saw Troyes rue a gilt-edged chance that was gifted to them by PSG‘s inability to defend set pieces as the hosts broke the deadlock after just six minutes.
Angel Di Maria began the game very brightly and, soon after forcing Jessy Moulin into a fine stretching save with a bending effort, curled in a wonderful cross which was simply controlled into the back of the net by Marquinhos – it may not have been intentional, but it looked good.
PSG go 1-0 up and Marquinhos won’t score an easier goal…
The ball from Ángel Di María is unreal ? pic.twitter.com/UCkFJxfQJ6
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 8, 2022
The visitors reacted very well to going a goal down but failed to take advantage of Pochettino’s side’s slight decrease in tempo.
They were once again made to rue their lack of clinical edge when Kylian Mbappe raced past his man into the penalty area and waited for Erik Palmer-Brown to clumsily lunge in and bring him down. Neymar stepped up and kept his cool to slot the ball into the bottom corner after a stuttering run-up, doubling his side’s lead in the 25th minute.
Troyes, however, kept their chins up and finally accepted a gift from their hosts, halving the deficit just five minutes later. Ike Ugbo was the grateful recipient, taking a woeful square pass from Nuno Mendes in his stride and thrashing a rasping effort into Keylor Navas’ bottom corner.
A very watchable first half refused to peter out, as Pochettino’s men reassumed their celebratory state in the 37th minute. A quick glance at the linesman’s flag, however, dampened their spirits as Neymar’s thumping effort after latching onto Lionel Messi’s rebounded effort off the post was pretty easily chalked off.
The home fans would have been happy with a solid attacking first-half display from which they established a deserved half-time lead, and would have felt relief about 15 minutes later when seeing the ever-threatening Mbappe re-emerge from the tunnel after it had looked as though the Frenchman sustained a knock from Palmer-Brown’s penalty-conceding challenge.
Thankfully, the drama didn’t cease with the break in play, as the visitors were awarded a penalty of their own within two minutes of the restart.
Renaud Ripart got the better of Presnel Kimpembe when cutting inside and, although he went down very easily, a VAR check didn’t overturn the referee’s original decision, allowing skipper Florian Tardieu to whip out a Panenka to draw his side level.
Troyes fight back from 2-0 down to draw level against PSG.
Florian Tardieu catches Navas out with a Panenka ? pic.twitter.com/EF5aMXIdg4
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 8, 2022
PSG continued to dazzle in forward areas, though, and thought they’d restored their lead just eight minutes later. Neymar’s brilliantly taken goal, however, was chalked off after an on-field review for a foul committed by Mbappe in the build-up.
An eventual drop in intensity made goalmouth action a rarity in the latter stages, although the hosts might have snatched a late winner twice in the final ten minutes.
Marquinhos saw a towering header from another delicious Di Maria delivery sail just wide of the post with seven minutes remaining before Messi had a rasping half volley fall flush onto the crossbar in stoppage time – to the disbelief of most, and the relief of some, in attendance.
As it turned out, Troyes – who remain susceptible to the drop – looked understandably content to take a point away from PSG, while the already-confirmed Ligue 1 champions didn’t seem pressed enough to desperately search for a late winner and instead settled for a third successive draw in the remaining minutes of the game.
Angel Di Maria was excellent for PSG / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/GettyImages
GK: Keylor Navas – 5/10 – Generally pretty commanding but couldn’t really do anything about Ugbo’s brilliant strike or Tardieu’s sumptuous spot kick.
RB: Achraf Hakimi – 5/10 – Improved as time progressed but looked off the pace and was very much pinned back by former Liverpool youngster Yasser Larouci.
CB: Marquinhos – 7/10 – Typically alert and positionally competent to provide an imposing defensive presence, and added a very nonchalant finish to break the deadlock.
CB: Presnel Kimpembe – 6/10 – Very solid display tarnished by sloppy defending to concede a penalty – even if it was a harsh decision.
LB: Nuno Mendes – 4/10 – Dreadful error to gift Troyes their goal and never regained his confidence thereafter.
CM: Danilo Pereira – 5/10 – Plugged gaps well enough but it wasn’t exactly a performance to write home about.
CM: Marco Verratti – 6/10 – Combative and tenacious as he scurried around the field, managing four ball recoveries, but not so influential on the front foot.
RW: Angel Di Maria – 8/10 – A tireless worker and really bright from the outset, causing problems and asking questions with first-class delivery – notably a beautiful assist for his side’s early opener – as he provided five key passes.
CF: Lionel Messi – 6/10 – Provided a sporadic spark throughout but never really got going – was desperately unlucky to hit the woodwork in either half, though.
LW: Neymar – 7/10 – Left a fair bit to be desired with his defensive support but visibly grew in confidence after tucking the ball away from 12 yards, subsequently expressing himself and drawing countless fouls.
ST: Kylian Mbappe – 7/10 – Comparatively quiet but still pivotal to his side’s play, notably showing sheer electricity to win the penalty from which Neymar scored and generally showcasing his staggering quality with efforts on goal as well as moments of creativity.
SUB: Idrissa Gueye (77′, for Danilo) – 6/10
SUB: Georginio Wijnaldum (77′, for verratti) – 6/10
SUB: Ismael Gharbi (89′, for Di Maria) – N/A
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