Lionel Messi restores calm at Paris Saint-Germain with first-half goal and leads PSG in 2-0 win over Nice

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Paris Saint-Germain remain in control of the Ligue 1 title race after Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos earned a 2-0 win away at OGC Nice on Saturday. The Argentine was teed up by Nuno Mendes for the first goal of the game after 26 minutes before he turned provider for Ramos 14 minutes from time to keep Les Parisiens six points clear.

Before PSG tacked on their second, Dante was unlucky to be denied an equalizer for Nice via goal line technology as Christophe Galtier returned to Allianz Riviera for three crucial points.

Preparation for this one was hardly ideal with Mbappe taking aim at PSG’s 2023-24 season ticket campaign which featured him almost exclusively. The French superstar accused the French champions of making it look like “Kylian Saint-Germain,” which is likely to write the Parisien press headlines for the next few weeks.  

Such was the severity of the past few days that chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi cut short his presence at European soccer summit meetings to be in Paris to read his players the riot act. Lens themselves turned up the heat on the capital club with a 2-1 home win over RC Strasbourg Alsace on Friday which cut PSG’s Ligue 1 lead to just three points ahead of their showdown next week. 

There is also the future of Messi and to a lesser extent Ramos which both look more and more likely to lie away from Parc des Princes with each passing week. But the two were able to put that uncertainty behind them, though, to secure a vital win against a Nice side that had been unbeaten in 14 games under interim boss Didier Digard up until this one.

Franck Haise’s Lens will still be tricky customers at Parc des Princes next week although Messi and Ramos have afforded PSG — especially Galtier — some much-needed breathing space for at least a few days. The big question is whether this was a one-off showing or whether the severity of Les Parisiens’ desperate situation has finally told amongst the players. 

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