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Football Reporting


PSG 1-1 Reims: Folarin Balogun bags late goal to deny PSG after Neymar strike

Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun struck an added-time equaliser for Reims to deny the 10 men of Paris Saint-Germain a winning return to Ligue 1.

Neymar’s 17th goal of the season six minutes after the restart looked set to be the decisive moment, but Balogun snuck in behind the home defence before rounding Gianluigi Donnarumma in the fifth minute of stoppage time to secure a 1-1 draw and a famous point for Reims.

The dramatic conclusion came after half-time substitute Marco Verratti – making his return from injury – was sent off just shy of the hour-mark.


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PSG started the night just two points ahead of second-place Lens after a 1-0 defeat to Rennes last time out in Ligue 1.

The hosts had to weather an early storm from Reims with Balogun twice drawing Donnarumma into a save before Marshall Munetsi forced the home goalkeeper into an instinctive one-handed stop.

In fact, the opening 45 minutes belonged to Reims but they had nothing to show for it at half-time after Junya Ita fired a first-time volley wide of goal and had a scooped attempt saved by Donnarumma.

Christophe Galtier would have demanded a much-improved showing from his side at half-time and he got a response, with the hosts moving the ball much quicker. They broke the deadlock with their first shot on target, Neymar rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net after Lionel Messi’s deflected shot fell kindly to him.

Reims thought they had won a penalty when Marquinhos clipped Balogun inside the box, but VAR intervened and determined that the forward was in an offside position. But it wasn’t all good news for PSG as Verratti, who had just played over 10 minutes on his return from injury, was shown a straight red card following another VAR check for a rash challenge on Ita in the build-up.

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The numerical disadvantage didn’t hinder PSG initially and indeed they could have doubled their tally when Sergio Ramos’ effort was turned onto the crossbar and a short while later Achraf Hakimi – on his 50th league appearance – had the ball in the back of the net only for it to be ruled offside.

Reims had a couple of late chances to get on the scoresheet as substitute Arber Zeneli side-footed wide from point-blank range and Mitchell van Bergen curled an effort agonisingly wide of the far post before Balogun struck.

The draw means PSG extend their lead at the top of the league – but only by one point. Draw specialists Reims, meanwhile, climb a place into 11th.

Talking point – Lacklustre PSG have to share the spoils

With PSG’s deadly trio of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe having not played a competitive game together since before the World Cup, it was a struggle for the hosts in final third, and this disjointedness seemed to reverberate across the entire team, particularly in the opening half.

The red card appeared to work in the home side’s favour as they initially controlled the ball much better and dictated the tempo, but the closer they got to the final whistle the more pressure Reims piled on. And they got their reward with Balogun notching his 11th goal of an impressive season – fully deserved after a lively showing.

The look of concern on Galtier’s face said it all. This was another poor performance coming off the back of a disappointing loss to Rennes, and it means his side have now dropped points in three of their last four games.

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Player of the match – Folarin Balogun (Reims)

The 21-year-old was a constant thorn in the side of the PSG defence with his pace and intelligent runs in behind. And what composure he showed with the final kick of the ball, having the confidence to round Donnarumma before tucking it home.

Player ratings

PSG: Donnarumma 5, Hakimi 6, Marquinhos 5, Ramos 6, Bernat 6, Soler 6, Vitinha 4, Ruiz 6, Messi 6, Neymar 7, Mbappe 7.. subs: Verratti 3, Pereira 5, Sanches 5, Zaire-Emery N/A.

Reims: Diouf 7, Foket 7, Abdelhamid 6, Agbadou 6, De Smet 7, Munetsi 7, Matusiwa 6, Flips 7, Cajuste 7, Ito 8, Balogun 8*.. subs: Doumbia 5, Zeneli 5, Lopy N/A, Van Bergen N/A.

Match highlights

51′ – GOAL! PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 1-0 REIMS (NEYMAR): Quick feet from Messi to get his shot away from the edge of the box, it takes a deflection and lands at the feet of Neymar, who rounds the goalkeeper and slots it into an empty net. PSG lead with their first shot on target!

55′ – VAR IN USE! The referee points to the spot after Marquinhos clips the heels of Balogun inside the box, but VAR intervenes and determines that the Reims forward was in an offside position. Verratti is also shown a yellow card for a late and rash tackle on Ita in the build-up. But wait, VAR is taking a long look at Verratti’s challenge and now the referee is going over to the pitch-side monitor to have another look. This usually means one thing…

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59′ – RED CARD! The referee overturns his decision and brandishes a straight red card to Verratti, who has only been on the pitch for less than 15 minutes! PSG are down to 10 men.

63′ – HOW HAS THAT NOT GONE IN?! Ramos meets a corner delivery with a powerful header and in an attempt to clear it Agbadou hits his own crossbar! The PSG defender pounces on the rebound but Agbadou makes another crucial block!

65′ – HAKIMI GOAL DISALLOWED! Hakimi, on his 50th league appearance for PSG, is sent through on goal and keeps his composure to beat Diouf – but it won’t count, he was offside!

90’+5 – GOAL! PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 1-1 REIMS (FOLARIN BALOGUN): Balogun gets behind the PSG defence and as cool as you like, rounds Donnarumma before firing into the gaping goal. A goal of real quality – and fully deserved!

Key stat

Ligue 1

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