PSG returned to Ligue 1 competition hosting and defeating Strasbourg 2-1 at the Parc des Princes. The matchup felt like an easy one on paper with RCSA sitting second-last in the table but it took Paris Saint-Germain a full 90-minute effort to defeat their last opponent of the 2022 calendar year.
The story of the game is, of course, Kylian Mbappe's scored penalty in the 94th minute to save PSG from a bad-looking draw against a relegation-bound team. Other than that, though, it was all about Neymar seeing a red card, Marquinhos scoring one goal for, another one against, and a third one ruled off and removed from the scoreboard!
Here are the grades from our beloved Parisian men after they put up a 2-1 victory against second-to-bottom Strasbourg on Wednesday, Dec. 28.
7 - Donnarumma: Allowed an unstoppable own goal by teammate Marquinhos. Saved the only real opposition chance he faced, from former PSG striker Kevin Gameiro. No big issues putting the ball in play.
7 - Mukiele: Deserved the start over Hakimi for both fit and performing reasons after a sublime couple of mid-season friendlies. Active as always on the right flank, he was moved to the left with the game on the line and still delivered. Nice outing, but nothing to point out as bad on his performance.
6 - Sergio Ramos: Experienced defender doing his thing. Not really noticed as RCSA didn't bring much heat to the PSG area. Can't complain about his game, but of course, some aging signs keep popping up weekly on him.
Marquinhos was the Man of the Match for a struggling PSG squad that still earned three more points
8 - Marquinhos: The man of the match had Mbappe not stolen the final-second glory from his feet. Marquinhos deserved to score the game-winning goal but Mbappe wasn't willing to allow him to kick and score the penalty. Shame. He's our man of the day, no questions asked even though he put that stupid ball inside his own net (not before putting PSG ahead himself, though).
6 - Bitshiabu: The titi had a solid debut but he didn't give a crap about offense instead focusing on building a defensive brick wall. Works against a minnow such as Strasbourg, but wouldn't do so against a behemoth like Bayern Munich. Lots of development still ahead and a ton of years to build his chops. Nothing to really blame him for, but not quite the complete performance needed at PSG when stronger competition is faced in the future.
(Sub) 5 - Hakimi: Late sub without much to do. All he did was the penguin celebrating PSG's victory with BFF Mbappe. Cool for him.
6 - Verratti: Not a game to remember coming from the newly-extended Italian midfielder. Had you seen this match alone and no other before, you'd be wondering how PSG were interested in handing him a two-year extension at all. Improved a bit at the end of the game but it's not that he excelled.
5 - Fabian Ruiz: Good start, bad midway through the game, improved of late. Not the brightest performer but he at least brought a warm body. Dished out some passes from the back, and moved the ball. It's called playing football, I guess.
6 - Vitinha: The Portugal international seemed to have forgotten about which side of the pitch PSG was attacking from and where they had to advance the ball toward to score goals judging by his always-backward passes. Never gets it all quite right through a full 90-minute stint. We keep waiting patiently.
(Sub) 5 - Soler: He roamed the pitch and touched the ball at times. What a sight!
4 - Neymar: Extraordinarily predictable return. Neymar played and started in his first game back at PSG. He logged all of 62 minutes on the field... before getting sent off... for diving... after having received his first yellow card a minute before for slapping an opponent in the face. Seriously, I have not made any of that up. He will miss a crucial game against Lens on Sunday after having done nothing to help PSG on Wednesday. Fantastic.
8 - Mbappe: The only man showing some willingness and passion on the pitch yesterday, Kylian Mbappe did it all to carry PSG to a harder-than-expected win against a quite bad opponent. That doesn't mean he was sublime, as he brought more effort than actual production to the plate, but still. Stole the game-winning goal from Marquinhos, who needed and would have enjoyed it much more than a World Cup winner (x1) and finalist (x2).
4 - Ekitike: Can the loan deal end just like that this summer instead of turning into a full-time addition to Paris? Sheesh...
(Sub) 4 - Sarabia: Feel free to read Soler's blurb above.