Neymar back in the goals as PSG edge win in Bordeaux without Lionel Messi

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Paris Saint-Germain ran out 3-2 winners away at Girondins de Bordeaux in Ligue 1 on Saturday with Neymar scoring twice and Kylian Mbappe also on target.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men came into the clash at Matmut Atlantique knowing that RC Lens had provisionally closed the gap on them to seven points and proceeded to open up a three-goal lead before Alberth Elis and Mbaye Niang reduced the deficit late on.

“People think we are playing badly,” said Mbappe post-match. “I think we are just playing less well at the moment. We manage to win, but we will continue to work and we are aware of it. However, there is nothing to be alarmed by.”

It took 26 minutes for Neymar to open the scoring but it was worth waiting for as the Brazil international delivered his first league goal from open play since May after being teed up by Mbappe.

The same combination produced PSG’s second goal two minutes before half-time as the Frenchman delightfully exchanged with Neymar who finished.

Into the second half and Georginio Wijnaldum, reborn after his midweek brace in the 2-2 draw away at RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League, set up Mbappe to make it 3-0 and PSG appeared to be calmly heading into the international break.

That until Alberth Elis pulled one back 12 minutes from time after former Parisien Yacine Adli provided for him and Niang further cut the arrears in the second minute of added time from a Jimmy Briand assist.

PSG ultimately saw out the 3-2 win but once again it was far from convincing and Pochettino must now use the international break to work on his team’s identity and style of player without most of his stars.

Neymar’s return to form is a welcome one, but the South American World Cup qualifiers have the potential to injure a few and also to restrict Pochettino’s squad selection once more post-internationals.

With Manchester City in the Champions League once the November break is over, once again there is precious little time for Pochettino to get his ideas to truly take hold within his lavish squad.

For now, though, there will at least be an eight-point lead in Le Championnat and that should be enough to keep Pochettino in place for the remainder of 2021 at least.

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