A bit of calm after the storm. Paris Saint-Germain obtained the victory (3-1) on the lawn of Espérance Sportive Troyes Aube Champagne (ESTAC), at the end of the 34th day (out of 38) of the French football championship, Sunday May 7. This positive result comes after a particularly turbulent week for the capital club.
Following a bitter defeat against Lorient (1-3) at the Parc des Princes the previous weekend, the seven-time Ballon d'Or Lionel Messi sparked controversy by missing a training session on Monday May 1. The Argentinian world champion had gone to Riyadh to promote the Saudi Arabia tourist office, without the club's agreement.
On Tuesday, the Parisian management decided to suspend its striker without communicating the duration ("two weeks" according to L'Equipe). This sanction leaves little doubt that the contract of Lionel Messi, who will turn 36 in June, will not be extended by PSG this summer. In a video posted on Instagram on Friday, the former Barcelona man apologized to his teammates and the club. "I honestly thought we were going to have a free day after the game, like we had in the previous weeks," he said.
Anger of supporters
In the meantime, the anger of the supporters has risen a notch. On Wednesday, at the call of the Collectif Ultras Paris, several hundred of them expressed their dissatisfaction with the results and the situation of the club, in front of the headquarters of PSG, in Boulogne-Billancourt (Hauts-de-Seine), calling for the "resignation" of management. That evening, a few hundred supporters went to Bougival (Yvelines) in front of the home of Neymar, injured until the end of the season, resuming hostile songs towards the Brazilian.
Sunday evening, the players of Christophe Galtier were therefore particularly scrutinized at the Stade de l'Aube, in Troyes. Facing them, an opponent who is heading downhill in Ligue 2, ESTAC, whose last victory in Ligue 1 dates back to January 2. And the PSG was able to find a semblance of serenity.
Quickly, Kylian Mbappé gave the Parisians the advantage, heading a ball previously diverted by the Trojan goalkeeper on the crossbar (0-1, 8th). In lack of confidence, the Champenois suffered the onslaught of the champion of France. But they still had a huge chance just before half-time when goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made a decisive save down his line to deflect a diving header from Mama Baldé.
The match was interrupted for a few moments during the first act when the local Ultras showed – in turn – their hostility towards the owners of ESTAC, the City Football Group, a consortium at the head of many clubs.
"Of course it feels good"
At the hour mark, Paris ended up taking shelter. The Portuguese Vitinha deceived Gauthier Gallon, in two stages and with a good dose of success (0-2, 59th). The Parisians were then able to manage their advantage. Nevertheless, Xavier Chavalerin gave hope to the Trojans (1-2, 83rd). In the process, the Spaniard Fabian Ruiz definitively folded the debates by brushing a shot, entering the goal with the complicity of the post (1-3, 86th).
“Of course it feels good, reacted, relieved, Christophe Galtier at the microphone of Prime Video. These are decisive matches for obtaining the title, we must not let go and maintain a certain gap. We were serious, disciplined, our victory is logical. In the standings, the Parisians regain a six-point lead over Racing Club de Lens (78 points against 72), PSG's new runner-up after their success in the shock against Olympique de Marseille, now third (70 points).
In the other matches of the day, in Ligue 1, Olympique Lyonnais made an incredible comeback to beat Montpellier at home. Trailing 4-1 at the start of the second half, the Lyonnais ended up snatching the victory 5-4. Alexandre Lacazette scored a quadruple for OL, as did Elye Wahi in favor of the Héraultais.
At the bottom of the standings, FC Nantes is adrift. A week after their disappointment in the Coupe de France final, and four days after a defeat in Brest, the Canaries lost again against a direct competitor, Strasbourg (2-0), at home. They have four games left to reverse the trend, at the risk of being relegated to Ligue 2.