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Balogun is ready for the big time! Winners, losers & ratings as PSG's Ligue 1 title defence is dealt another blow by Arsenal loanee

5:46 PM EST 1/29/23
Folarin Balogun's 96th minute equaliser gave Reims a deserved 1-1 draw against a sloppy Paris Saint-Germain, who dropped more points in the title race

In 95 minutes, Folarin Balogun missed two clear chances. One went over the bar and another was saved. But when presented with his third of the night, in the 96th, he didn't miss. The Arsenal loanee scampered through on goal, rounded Gianluigi Donnarumma and lashed the ball home to snatch a point for mid-table Reims against Ligue 1 leaders PSG.

It was a deserved result for Reims, who were the better team for long stretches, and came away from the Parc de Princes with a hard-earned point. And Balogun was the star man on the day.

He scored the equaliser, and offered constant energy throughout proceedings, looking the best forward on a pitch shared with Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar. He's up to 12 goals in 20 appearances across all competitions for Reims this season, and looks certain to get his chance under Mikel Arteta when he returns to Arsenal in the summer.

Still, it's these games that PSG are expected to win. And they almost did. After a sloppy first 45 minutes, PSG struck early in the second half. Neymar latched onto a loose ball behind the Reims defence, rounded the keeper and finished from a narrow-angle for a 1-0 lead.

PSG's momentum was stalled, though, with the sending off of substitute Marco Verratti, who sank his studs into Junya Ito's ankle, earning himself a straight red. PSG had other chances, but couldn't capitalize, and Balogun's equalizer snatched a point for Reims with the last kick of the game.

The result means that PSG are still only three points clear at the Ligue 1 summit, as they failed to capitalise on Lens' 1-1 draw with Troyes on Saturday. The title race is still very much alive, and it's all thanks to the Arsenal loanee.

Check out GOAL's winners, losers and ratings below.

  • Neymar-PSG-Reims-2022-23

    The Winners


    In truth, Neymar didn't have his best game. There were no dizzying runs or outrageous pieces of skill. Instead, it was a strangely understated showing from the Brazilian. But his impact was invaluable. Neymar created three chances, put in a solid defensive shift, and capped off the evening by scoring PSG's only goal, rounding the keeper and finishing from a tight angle. He will have more effective and more aesthetically pleasing games, but he did everything he could Sunday night.

    Achraf Hakimi:

    Hakimi played a strange sort of role for PSG against Reims. His defensive work was agreeable, and some of his attacking movements were suspect. But his energy, on a night when his team was lacking it, was absolutely invaluable. The right-back was a constant outlet down the wing, stretching the Reims defence and offering a languid PSG team valuable time to recover from extended periods of pressure. Hakimi also found the back of the net late in the second half, but saw the goal ruled out for offside. It would have been a deserved goal after a classy performance.

    Folarin Balogun:

    What a goal from the Arsenal loanee. Bolagun had run relentlessly all evening but had nothing to show for his efforts, despite having a few clear chances. But deep into added time, he got his reward. Balogun took his goal wonderfully, running between PSG's centre-backs, rounding the goalkeeper, and slamming his shot into the roof of the net. It capped off a memorable showing for Balogun, who now has 11 goals in Ligue 1 for 2022-23. The striker has been linked with a call-up to the U.S. Men's National team in recent weeks, and showings like this suggest he deserves it.

  • Verratti-PSG-Reims

    The Losers

    Marco Verratti:

    What a strange performance. Verratti entered the game at half time, in his long-awaited return from injury. And he changed the game immediately, offering some much-needed thrust and creativity to the PSG midfield. He was crucial in the build-up to his team's opener, too, winning the ball back in the Reims third before starting the attack that gave PSG a 1-0 lead. However, he ruined it all five minutes later, driving his studs into Junya Ito's ankle in a reckless challenge, earning himself a straight red card just 13 minutes after entering the fray.

    Kylian Mbappe:

    Such are the expectations of being Kylian Mbappe that any contest in which the Frenchman is even slightly off the pace feels like a let-down. But Mbappe was genuinely poor here, especially in the first half. He failed to complete any of his first three take-ons, and twice gave the ball away while PSG were on the break. At times, the France international seemed to try too hard to make something happen. He overcooked his runs, under-hit his passes, and took on a couple of rash shots. Mbappe was admittedly better in the final minutes when Reims pushed for an equaliser, but it wasn't his best night.

    Lionel Messi:

    Messi was necessarily bad on Sunday night. There were some signature Messi feints and dummies, and he was also involved in the build-up to PSG's goal. But he was also rather rusty. He was dispossessed three times, notably having the ball snatched away by the excellent Yunis Abdelhamid. The Argentine also had a clear chance to kill the game for the home side, but lashed his shot wide from six yards out. There is no doubting Messi's quality, and he will certainly drag PSG to some wins as the season goes on. But he looked short on match-fitness on Sunday, and his team suffered.

  • Hakimi-PSG-Reims

    PSG Ratings: Defence

    Gianluigi Donnarumma (6/10):

    Did almost everything right until the last minute, when he was too hasty off his line to allow Balogun to score a 96th minute equaliser.

    Achraf Hakimi (7/10):

    Offered much-needed energy for PSG, and almost grabbed himself a goal, but was ruled offside.

    Marquinhos (6/10):

    Made one unbelievable scissor kick clearance to prevent a clear chance in the first half. Was otherwise typically reliable.

    Sergio Ramos (6/10):

    Almost scored with a signature thumping header, and was far more effective at handling the lively Balogun.

    Juan Bernat (6/10):

    Hard to fault his performance at the back, but was perhaps a bit lacking going forward.

  • Fabian-Ruiz-PSG-Reims


    Carlos Soler (5/10):

    Sacrificed after Verratti was sent off. Didn't get on the ball much and was outrun in the midfield.

    Vitinha (6/10):

    Probably the best of PSG's midfield three in the first half, but gave way for Verratti at half time.

    Fabian Ruiz (5/10):

    Another puzzling showing from the Spanish international. Lots of nice moments and pretty passes, but not much football of consequence.



    Lionel Messi (6/10):

    Invisible, then very good, then invisible again. Should have scored with 10 minutes to play.

    Neymar (8/10):

    Not his flashiest game, but Neymar was efficient and grabbed PSG's only goal.

    Kylian Mbappe (5/10):

    Loose in the final third early, often dispossessed and wasteful in possession. Improved later, but far from his best showing.

  • Christophe Galtier PSG

    Subs & Manager

    Marco Verratti (4/10):

    Came on at half time in his return from injury. Changed the game with his industry and passing, before getting sent off for a terrible challenge.

    Danilo Pereira (6/10):

    Offered some much-needed control after PSG went down to 10 men. Probably should have started.

    Renato Sanches (5/10):

    Looked rusty on his Ligue 1 return from injury. Misjudged a ball in the build-up to Reims' late equalizer.

    Warren Zaire-Emery (N/A):

    7 touches, was on the pitch when his team conceded.

    Christophe Galtier (6/10):

    Galtier got his usual front three back, but they failed to impact the game and his side was outrun and outclassed in the middle of the park. He clearly tried to change things by introducing Verratti at half-time, only to see his midfield maestro sent off. Galtier perhaps should have sacrificed one of the forwards for some defensive solidity as Reims applied pressure late. He now faces three games without Verratti, while PSG hold a precarious three-point lead atop Ligue 1.