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Less than two weeks before the Champions League resumes, injuries to Kylian Mbappe and Sergio Ramos worry Christophe Galtier.
Paris Saint-Germain have allowed the Ligue 1 title battle to reopen by winning only one of their four league games since the World Cup as they travelled to Montpellier on Wednesday.
And for 55 minutes, it appeared as though the French champs’ situation would only get worse.
While Neymar was completely benched because of muscle exhaustion, Sergio Ramos and Kylian Mbappe both left the game with injuries in the first half. Before being substituted, Mbappe did had time to go up and take a penalty, but both his first attempt and a second attempt were saved.
In just 13 days, Bayern Munich will resume play in the Champions League in Paris, and fans are increasingly anxious about the health of their star attacker and seasoned defender Ramos.
In Mbappe’s absence, Fabian Ruiz, a midfielder, came up to fill in admirably. The Spain international scored his first goal for the team with a close-range toe poke and then assisted Lionel Messi 15 minutes later on PSG’s second goal.
The Ligue 1 leaders were on edge when Montpellier scored a consolation goal in the 89th minute, but substitute Warren Zaire-Emery calmed them down with a third goal, becoming PSG’s youngest-ever Ligue 1 goal scorer in the process.
GOAL breaks down the winners and losers from the 3-1 win…
PSG. Fabian doesn’t mind running, but it didn’t seem like he was the hard-working midfielder Christophe Galtier needed. And so far, evidence has shown that the critics were correct. For the majority of his PSG career, Fabian has struggled, producing many lovely passes but having little impact on the game. But on Wednesday, that changed. Fabian was allowed more opportunity to move forward since Mbappe was injured and Neymar was out, and he did so with ease, scoring PSG’s first goal and setting up their second in an outstanding performance. He is obviously extremely talented, and it is unfortunate for him that he is not likely to have many more opportunities to demonstrate how significant he is.
In less than two weeks, Bayern will play PSG in the Champions League, and they must be secretly happy that the Ligue 1 leaders are having some injury issues so close to the match. Given that both Mbappe and Ramos’ injuries are described as muscular in nature, it is difficult to determine how severe they are or how long they will be out. However, the fact that neither could continue to play indicates that both injuries may be more serious than just a bump, which is fantastic news for Julian Nagelsmann’s team.
Balogun, an Arsenal loanee, passed Mbappe earlier on Wednesday in the Ligue 1 top scorer standings after scoring three goals against Lorient to bring his season total to 14. Even so, Mbappe had a fantastic opportunity to retake the lead when PSG was given a penalty after just seven minutes because he was only behind by one goal. It was surprising that he missed once, but when the spot-kick was ordered to be retaken, it seemed nearly unimaginable that he would miss twice. To top it all off, he then sent the second penalty’s rebound over the crossbar before suffering an injury that cut short his night. Good news for Balogun, who continues to lead the lists for goals scored.
What a miserable evening. Ten terrible minutes saw Mbappe’s misfortune play out. He first observed Benjamin Lecomte save a penalty. After a Montpellier defender encroached, he was instructed to retake the shot, but he missed it again before launching the rebound far into the air. Shortly later, the France international left the game with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, ending his time on the field. Mbappe left on his own, so it didn’t seem to be a serious injury, but the impending Champions League knockout match makes Mbappe’s forced exit a major worry.
Ramos had a terrible thirty minutes. The center-back left the game with an alleged adductor injury as he was just rounding into form. He had been successful up to that point, providing the PSG team with much-needed defensive steadiness while they struggled to find any kind of an attacking rhythm. If it is a minor injury, Ramos won’t be out for long, but his absence will still hurt a club that already lacks depth at the back. After suffering an Achilles injury, Presnel Kimpembe is yet to resume full training, and Danilo Pereira is at best a subpar center-back. PSG allegedly refused to pay the substantial sum Inter demanded in January for Milan Skriniar; perhaps they ought to have.
Lens’ title hopes:
When Lens defeated PSG about a month ago, they entered the Ligue 1 championship race, and an implausible rise to the top spot didn’t seem all that unlikely. They had only lost once up to that point in the season, and it had been a convincing victory over PSG. But on Wednesday, a 1-0 loss to Nice dealt a devastating blow to their title chances. The fact that Marseille also triumphed, placing Lens in third place and six points behind PSG, only made matters worse. It’s not impossible for Franck Haise’s team to reenter the picture, but it does seem highly improbable.