The big news from a team sheet perspective was that PSG’s Sergio Ramos made his long awaited debut for the club following his summer move. The 35-year-old had been struggling with injuries since his move to Paris. With a limited capacity following crowd trouble at recent home matches, the atmosphere was lacking in the early stages. As expected though, PSG started on the front foot and had the ball in the back of the net after just five minutes, but VAR ruled for offside.
Kylian Mbappé saw his first attempt on goal thwarted by England Under-21 goalkeeper Etienne Green as the visitors dominated possession. ‘Les Verts’ were not just sitting watching the illustrious PSG side though, as they forced them back at times and grabbed the opening goal when Whabi Khazri’s delightful pass found Denis Bouanga in space to fire home, following Gianluigi Donnarumma’s initial save.
With the snow sweeping across the ground, tackles became mis-timed and referee Jérôme Brisard started to hand out cautions to both sets of players. PSG were increasingly denied by Green prior to HT, brilliant saves from Neymar and Mbappé as ‘Les Rouge-et-Bleu’ increased their dominance. Moments before the break, Saint-Étienne defender Timothée Kolodziejczak was sent off for tripping, which appeared to be a harsh decision by Brisard. From the resulting free-kick by Lionel Messi, Marquinhos rose highest to equalise.
With a man advantage, PSG set about trying to impose themselves in the game but found a stubborn home defence. There was always the threat of a counter-attack and twice Bouanga went close with quick breakaways. Messi and Neymar were both denied thanks to some excellent defending as Mauricio Pochettino’s men became increasingly frustrated. In the end, Ángel Di María eventually broke through the Saint-Étienne defence to give PSG the lead with ten minutes to go and although Neymar was stretchered off with an apparent ankle injury, PSG still added a third when Marquinhos nodded in his second of the game to complete the victory.
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