Paris Saint-Germain 4-3 Troyes: Messi inspires comeback as Galtier's side move five points clear

Lionel Messi scored a world-class goal and assisted another for Neymar as Paris Saint-Germain twice came from behind to beat Troyes 4-3 and go five points clear at the top of Lige 1.

PSG were behind with just 134 seconds played – the earliest they have trailed at home in the league since September 2018 – after Mama Balde thumped in from close range.

Neymar played in Carlos Soler to equalise after 24 minutes, only for Balde to restore Troyes' lead early in the second half and leave the champions in need of some inspiration, which arrived in the form of Messi.

The forward blasted home a vicious strike from 30 yards and then set up Neymar, before Kylian Mbappe gave PSG some breathing space that was required when Ante Palaversa pulled one back for what proved to be nothing more than a late consolation.

PSG 4-3 Troyes
PSG 4-3 Troyes

Balde fired Troyes into an early lead after PSG failed to cut out Abdu Conte's left-sided cross and Rony Lopes flicked the ball into his team-mate's path to volley in.

Recalled PSG midfielder Soler had the hosts back on level terms before long when rounding Gauthier Gallon and converting after being played in by a chipped Neymar pass.

Gallon made a string of saves and more frustration followed for PSG as Balde clinically finished past Gianluigi Donnarumma after smartly turning his man.

But Messi restored parity with a powerful shot that Gallon could not get to and then spotted the run of Neymar for the Brazil international to lift the ball over the Troyes goalkeeper.

Soler took advantage of some hesitancy at the back to win a late penalty, which Mbappe emphatically converted, and although Palaversa headed in a third for Troyes to set up a nervy finish, PSG held on.

 

What does it mean? Sloppy PSG are not made to pay

PSG have now won four games in a row in all competitions, scoring 15 goals in the process, and are 19 matches unbeaten under Galtier.

This victory was far from straightforward, however, with mid-table Troyes twice taking the lead and then pulling one back late on after PSG thought they were over the line.

It was an uncharacteristically sloppy match from Galtier's men, having kept a clean sheet in eight of their previous 12 league matches this term, but they got over the line to restore a five-point advantage at the top.

Magical Messi

Messi scored his 12th goal of the campaign with arguably his best strike of the lot and also added another assist, taking him to 13 for the season in just 17 matches.

Only Manchester City striker Erling Haaland has been involved in as many goals among players across Europe's top five leagues in all competitions, with Neymar (24) close behind.

Mixed bag for Galtier

PSG managed 11 shots on target, a tally they have only bettered twice in all competitions this season, with four of those ending in the back of the net.

Galtier will be pleased with his side's attacking display, but they were poor at the back and conceded three goals from an expected goals (xG) against value of 1.59.

Key Opta Facts:

- PSG's past 25 goals scored (excluding own goals) in all competitions have been scored or assisted by Mbappe, Neymar or Messi. Their last goal scored by another player, without an assist from that trio, was netted by Nuno Mendes against Nantes in Ligue 1 in September.

- The Parisians have picked up 35 points after 13 games in Ligue 1 this season. Counting three points for a win, only Lille in 1949-50 (36) and PSG themselves in 2018-19 (39) have done better at this stage of the competition.

- Troyes are the first side to score three-or-more goals at PSG in Ligue 1 since Bordeaux, in February 2020 (another 4-3 win for PSG), and the first side to lead twice in a single away game at Parc des Princes in the top flight since Rennes in November 2012 (2-1).

- Soler is PSG's seventh Spanish goalscorer since 2011-12 (after Berchiche, Bernat, Herrera, Jese, Ramos and Sarabia). Only Brazilians (10) have netted more for PSG over that period among foreign players. Excluding Messi, Neymar and Mbappe, Soler is the first player to score in back-to-back games with PSG in all competitions this season.

- Messi has scored and assisted in three consecutive games in all competitions for the first time since December 2017-January 2018 (four games, including international matches). He has scored four goals from outside the box (all in October), the co-highest tally for a player among players from Europe's top five leagues in all competitions this season, alongside Federico Valverde.

What's next?

PSG travel to Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday ahead of facing Lorient in their next league outing. Troyes host Auxerre in six days' time.