European roundup: Messi inspires PSG fightback but Neymar carried off

Lionel Messi set up all three goals as Paris Saint-Germain stretched their Ligue 1 lead to 14 points with a 3-1 comeback win away to 10-man Saint-Étienne as Neymar sustained a possible ankle injury and was taken off on a stretcher on Sunday.

PSG made the most of Timothée Kolodziejczak’s red card on the stroke of half-time as Messi fed Marquinhos for two headed goals and Ángel Di María struck to seal a clinical turnaround after Les Verts had opened the scoring through Denis Bouanga.

The result put PSG on 40 points from 15 games, with third-placed Rennes having a chance to leapfrog Nice into second when they travel to Lorient later on Sunday.

Saint-Étienne, who mounted a decent challenge despite being a man down as snow fell on the Geoffroy Guichard stadium, are now bottom of the standings with 12 points.

The game marked Sergio Ramos’s debut for PSG, almost five months after joining from Real Madrid as a free agent, and the Spaniard started in central defence alongside Marquinhos. Saint-Étienne pressed high and PSG looked to hit them on the break, with Neymar finding the back of the net early on only for the Brazilian’s goal to be ruled out for offside.

The hosts went ahead after 24 minutes when Kolodziejczak, set up by a superb Wahbi Khazri through pass, shot straight at the goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma but Banga followed up and fired home from point-blank range.

The momentum, however, swung towards PSG in a couple of minutes on the stroke of half-time. Kolodziejczak was harshly shown a straight red card for bringing down Kylian Mbappé as the France striker charged towards goal and Marquinhos headed home Messi’s perfectly executed free-kick.

Messi was at it again 11 minutes from time, whipping a fine pass behind the back of the defence for Di María, who finished with a curled effort into the far corner of the net. Marquinhos headed home again from Messi’s cross in the last minute, three minutes after Neymar was carried off after twisting his ankle.

Later in the day, Espanyol host Real Sociedad, Atlético Madrid visit Cádiz and Real Madrid play Sevilla at the Bernabéu in Spain. Serie A matches include Milan hosting Sassuolo, Roma v Torino and Lazio’s visit to the leaders, Napoli.

More to follow

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