Messi, Mbappe have off day as PSG concede late goal; Reims hero Balogun on loan from Arsenal

Arsenal have been flying high this season. Top of the English Premier League table, five points ahead of the second best Manchester City with a game in hand. The impact of the North London club on Sunday transcended to the French League.

Gunners loaned Folarin Balogun helped Reims play a 1-1 draw against Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Jr. powered Paris Saint Germain in Ligue 1. The draw marked a fifth occasion in the season when the current league leaders in France dropped points. 

With PSG leading 1-0 going into the stoppage time, courtesy of a Neymar Jr. goal, Balogun scored a winner deep in the second half stoppage time to carve out a point for the visiting side in the French capital.

Fed off a through ball from the middle, Balogun rounded off the PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma before putting the ball into an empty net from a tricky angle.

The match saw PSG’s 2022 World Cup final starring cast of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe have a sluggish outing. Mbappe, who had scored a hattrick in the final and more recently scored five against Pays de Cassel in PSG’s 7-0 Coupe de France win, failed to convert or carve out opportunities against 11th placed Reims. So did Lionel Messi, who had only last month inspired Argentina to their first ever World Cup win in 36 years.

Reims manager William Still, who was jubilant at the full time whistle said afterwards, “We offered interesting things whether it was with or without the ball. There was a team on the field and it was a team that was ready, proud, and unafraid of playing here at Parc des Princes. We did not have any complex. The goal we conceded was annoying, but it is also part of the game. We held on, did not lose hope, and we were rewarded at the end.”

He further added, “It is hard against 10 men as the scenario changes. You lose your bearings and we had 10,15, or 20 minutes of just floating as we knew that PSG’s greatest danger came in transition. We wanted to lure them into a trap as we knew how fast Mbappe can be. After the red, we had to adapt and start to push. After the game, I told the players that it was good to take a point, but that it will be useless if we do not beat Lorient.”

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