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Messi and Ramos give PSG win to ease pressure on coach Galtier

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PARIS: Lionel Messi scored one goal and set up another for Sergio Ramos as Paris St-Germain won 2-0 at Nice on Saturday to restore their six-point lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table and ease the pressure on coach Christophe Galtier.

Messi converted a Nuno Mendes cross in the 26th minute before Gianluigi Donnarumma produced several key saves and Dante was denied by the woodwork as PSG’s goal lived a charmed life on the Cote d’Azur.

Ramos then ended any doubt about the outcome when he headed in a Messi corner with 14 minutes remaining, as PSG bounced back from suffering consecutive home defeats.

Those losses had piled the pressure on Galtier amid reports he may not even see out the season.

The result clearly meant a lot to Galtier, who was in charge at Nice last season and expressed his displeasure at a banner unfurled by the home supporters aimed at his mother.

It was a first defeat in 15 matches in all competitions for Nice since Didier Digard replaced Lucien Favre as coach in January.

The Ineos-owned club remain eighth in the table.

Messi’s 14th Ligue 1 goal of the campaign that opened the scoring came at the end of a week in which it emerged he was likely to leave Paris when his contract expires in the summer.

Donnarumma saved well from Nicolas Pepe and Terem Moffi before half-time, and Dante then sent an effort off the underside of the bar six minutes into the second half, with the ball bouncing down onto the line and then hitting the post.

Ramos made it 2-0 but there was still time for Danilo Pereira to head against his own crossbar late on.

Earlier, bottom side Angers claimed their first Ligue 1 win since September as they beat European hopefuls Lille 1-0.

Substitute Halid Sabanovic scrambled in the only goal of the match with six minutes left as Angers ended a run of 21 matches without a win.

That means they will not match the French top-flight record for the most games without a win in a single season — that record is held by Arles-Avignon who went 23 matches without a victory in 2010/11.

They nevertheless remain seven points adrift at the bottom of the table and 12 away from safety with only eight games left.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2023


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