Messi inspires shaky PSG to Ligue 1 win

Lionel Messi scored a goal and an assist to inspire Paris St Germain to a 4-3 victory over Troyes, returning the lead at the top of Ligue 1 to five points.

Saturday’s victory brought unbeaten PSG to 35 points in 13 games ahead of second-placed Lens, who beat Toulouse 3-0 the day before.

Mama Balde had twice given Troyes a mid-table lead before Messi took control to score his seventh goal of the season in Ligue 1 and raise his assist count to 10, a league record high.

PSG got off to a slow start and Troyes only took three minutes to stun the crowd at the Parc des Princes when Abdu Conte ran down the sideline to send a cross into the box where Rony Lopes gave Balde the opportunity to fly into the net.

The home side remained patient and paid off in the 24th minute when Neymar spotted Carlos Soler as he ran, picking up a ball that went through the area for the Spanish midfielder to get around goalkeeper Gauthier Gallon and Mark.

Balde gave Troyes the lead in the 7th minute of the second half, receiving a cross on the corner and throwing a low shot past goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

He could have had a third when he tried to beat the PSG high line only to be denied by the linesman’s offside flag, but Messi then stole the show.

The Argentine first pulled the trigger from nearly 30 yards to equalize with a sizzling shot, before becoming supplier a few minutes later with a punchy ball for Neymar who scored when PSG first advanced in the match.

Gallon then landed Soler in the box amid a confusion with the defense and Kylian Mbappe intervened with a penalty as PSG’s star-studded attacking trio all found the net.

Troyes pulled one back in the final stages when Ante Palaversa took advantage of poor scoring to go home, but PSG held all three points.

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