PSG 1-1 Reims: Folarin Balogun bags last-second equalizer to upset Paris
PSG returned to their home confines at the Parc des Princes and couldn't get more than one point hosting Reims after earning a 1-1 draw with Folarin Balogun scoring the tying goal six minutes into added time.
The story repeated itself in Paris for the nth time this season. PSG trusted their Holy Trinity up front, lacked passion, effort, willingness, and ideas through the first half of play, lucked into a goal to put themselves in front, and ultimately ended up conceding a game-tying goal in the waning minutes of the match failing to fully capitalize on the early 1-0 advantage.
In a Ligue 1 matchday in which all of Lens (2nd in the standings), Olympique Marseille (3rd), and Monaco (4th) drew their games, PSG decided to do the same instead of taking advantage of the situation and build a five-point gap ahead of everyone else.
Instead of that, PSG played another uninspiring game at the Parc on Sunday against a Reims squad punching above their weight. At the end of the day, though, Reims got what they fought for through the full 96 minutes of play.
Folarin Balogun, the Arsenal loanee, could have very well gone home with two or three goals in his bag. At least he got one. The same can't be said about the trifecta of Neymar, Lionel Messi, and Kylian Mbappe.
PSG couldn't defeat mid-table side Reims after allowing Folarin Balogun to score a last-second goal
Christophe Galtier can thank the football gods for putting Neymar right on the very perfect spot at the very perfect moment so he could score PSG's lone goal of the day. Messi had one shot close to hitting the goalpost--from the outside, that was--while Mbappe never smelled goal.
With Bayern Munich lurking, things don't look too good for PSG as the French club is about to kick a devastating month of February off. It's going to be six games in 16 days and the start couldn't have been worse for Galtier and his men.
Reims remain undefeated under the guidance of Will Still, and it's been 13 games and counting for the British lad in charge as he keeps earning points, drawing games, and also winning them while handling matters from French touchlines.
Truth be told, Gianluigi Donnarumma already forecasted what was about to come with a gaffe less than 30 seconds into the game that was very close to costing PSG a goal. Funnily enough, they allowed the drawing goal with just 30 seconds left on the clock.
The scoreboard didn't move until after the break, and some of it had to do with the inclusion of Marco Verratti (returning after missing multiple games this month healing an injury) in exchange for Vitinha. That helped Neymar, indirectly, to put PSG ahead without really meriting it after a rather dumbfounding (for the bad) first half in which Reims danced all around the Parisian players.
It was, in fact, the first time since 2018 that PSG went to the locker room having attempted just one shot. One. Shot. Through the first 45 minutes. With the MNM on the pitch from the start. Read that again if you're still in awe.
Verratti came into the pith hypercharged by the looks of it. That's why just 15 minutes into his brief cameo he attempted to turn Junya Ito's ankle into tiny marbles, thus getting rightfully sent off. Incredibly enough, it took the VAR to see the atrocious crime he had just committed, although ultimately justice prevailed.
Renato Sanches and Danilo, both coming off the pine in the 68th and 63rd minute respectively, did nothing to help PSG pad their early 1-0 lead. Achraf Hakimi scored on a clear offside play correctly ruled off live by the linesman. Other than that, it was all a moot game by the PSG men.
The most promising of the substitutes entering the pitch on Sunday, record-man Warren Zaire-Emery, was the one who ultimately doomed PSG with an errant header back. Shit happens, mistakes pop up when you're 16 years old, we've all been there, done that.
What Marquinhos and Sergio Ramos did to try and prevent Balogun from snatching that misplaced header and put him past Gigio, though, is highly unacceptable. Alas, 1-1 and another lost chance.
Reims scored, the referee blew the whistle, Neymar moaned from the sidelines after having been subbed off the pitch following his goalscoring effort, and Galtier offered excuses (as he's been doing for a month) to keep his place atop the PSG coaching ranks.
Whether that stays the same for long or not, is up to Galtier's future results. Results that, looking at how the next month of play is shaping, might have the French manager out of the Parisian club by the end of February or mid-March at the latest.