Lionel Messi set all three goals as Paris Saint-Germain They boosted their Ligue 1 lead to 14 points with a 3-1 away win over 10 players Saint-Etienne Neymar also sustained a possible ankle injury and was dislocated on a stretcher on Sunday.
PSG cashed in Timothy Kolodzijczak’s red card at the end of the first half as Messi fed Marquinhos with a brace and Angel Di Maria’s goal to make a clinical turnaround after Les Vert opened the scoring through Denis Bouanga.
With that result, PSG have 40 points from 15 games, with third-placed Rennes having a chance to jump Nice to second when they travel to Lorient later on Sunday.
Saint-Étienne, who put up a decent challenge despite being a tumble man with snow at Stade Geoffroy Guichard, is now at the bottom of the standings with 12 points.
The match was Sergio Ramos’ first appearance with Paris Saint-Germain, nearly five months after he joined from Real Madrid as a free agent, and the Spaniard started in the center of defense alongside Marquinhos. Saint-Etienne pressed high and PSG looked to beat them at the break, with Neymar netting early only to disallow the Brazilian’s goal for offside.
The hosts took the lead after 24 minutes when Kolodzijczak, with a superb pass from Wahbi Khazri, fired directly at goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, but Banga followed it up and hit the net from close range.
But momentum swung towards PSG within two minutes after the break. Kolodziejczak received a straight red card for bringing down Kylian Mbappé as the France striker sprinted towards goal and Marquinhos headed a perfectly executed Messi free kick.
Messi was back again with 11 minutes left, hitting a superb pass behind Di Maria’s defense, who finished curling into the far corner of the net. Marquinhos nodded again from Messi’s cross in the last minute, three minutes after carrying Neymar after a sprained ankle.
Later in the day, Espanyol host Real Sociedad, visit Atletico Madrid to Cadiz, and Real Madrid play Sevilla at the Bernabeu in Spain. The Serie A matches include Milan hosting Sassuolo, Rome hosting Turin and Lazio hosting leaders Napoli.
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