Messi’s last minute free-kick goal snatches dramatic win for PSG

Paris Saint-Germain's Argentine forward Lionel Messi celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lille LOSC at The Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris on 19 February, 2023AFP

Lionel Messi scored a 95th-minute free-kick to give Paris Saint-Germain a 4-3 win over Lille in an extraordinary Ligue 1 game on Sunday in which Kylian Mbappe scored twice but Neymar was taken off on a stretcher with an ankle injury.

Messi's last-gasp winner came after PSG had squandered a two-goal lead and fallen 3-2 behind, with Mbappe grabbing a late equaliser before the Argentine's stunning strike.

The result ends a run of three straight defeats for PSG and ensures they end the weekend as they started it, five points clear of second-placed Marseille, who won 3-2 at Toulouse and host the Parisians next.

"We came through it. It wasn't a great performance," Mbappe told broadcaster Amazon Prime.

"We made lots of mistakes and lost concentration too often and against a quality side you pay dearly for that, but we showed that even when we are not at our best and the context is not exactly favourable we are a different team with different players and we can always find a way."

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (R) falls, injured after a contact with Lille's French midfielder Benjamin Andre (C) during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lille LOSC at The Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris on 19 February, 2023

Of immediate concern to PSG is the injury to Neymar, who looked to be in tears as he was helped onto a stretcher early in the second half after turning his right ankle.

No fracture

PSG later confirmed a scan had shown no fracture, but said further tests would need to be carried out on the damage to the ligaments in the coming days, building fears the Brazilian could miss the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich on March 8.

"I hope 'Ney' is going to come back quickly because he is an important player for us," added Mbappe, as PSG also saw Nuno Mendes forced off with an ankle problem.

Christophe Galtier's team were looking to bounce back from a 1-0 home loss to Bayern in the first leg of that European tie, and they went ahead early on against Lille through Mbappe -- making his first start after returning from a recent thigh injury.

Neymar soon made it 2-0 against a side PSG beat 7-1 in their last meeting in August, but Bafode Diakite pulled one back for Lille midway through the first half.

The home side then saw Neymar carried off within five minutes of the second half starting, and Lille drew level when Jonathan David converted a penalty for his 17th goal this season following a Marco Verratti foul in the box.

Jonathan Bamba made it 3-2 to the away side with a superb finish and the hosts looked set for a fourth successive loss before Mbappe converted from a Juan Bernat assist with three minutes remaining.

Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe celebrates his team's third goal during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lille LOSC at The Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris on 19 February, 2023

That was his 27th goal this season in all competitions, but it was not the end of the drama as Messi won a free-kick when he was fouled just outside the area by Benjamin Andre.

The World Cup winner stepped up to dispatch the dead ball into the net off the post to round off a remarkable game.

Marseille keep up pressure

Marseille have now won nine and drawn one of 11 league games played since their elimination from the Champions League in early November, after they came from behind to win in Toulouse.

Dutch striker Thijs Dallinga gave mid-table Toulouse an early lead, but Marseille came roaring back in the second half at Le Stadium.

Chancel Mbemba equalised and Cengiz Under put Marseille in front before Nuno Tavares netted his sixth goal of the season on loan from Arsenal, with Ado Onaiwu pulling one back for the hosts.

Monaco followed up their 3-1 victory over PSG last weekend by winning 2-1 in Brest to sit two points behind Marseille in third.

Aleksandr Golovin and Myron Boadu scored for the principality side, with Jeremy Le Douaron pulling one back.

Fourth-placed Lens were 3-1 winners against Nantes, while Rennes moved back above Lille into fifth by beating Clermont 2-0, ex-PSG forward Arnaud Kalimuendo scoring both of their goals.

There were also wins for Lorient and Montpellier, while Strasbourg moved out of the relegation zone on Saturday by beating bottom side Angers 2-1 on new coach Frederic Antonetti's debut.

Fellow strugglers Auxerre beat Lyon 2-1 on Friday, while Nice and Reims drew 0-0.