Lionel Messi scored one goal and set up another for Sergio Ramos as Paris Saint-Germain won 2-0 at Nice on Saturday to restore its 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 left the Qatar-owned club with eight defeats in 18 games in 2023 and piled the pressure on Galtier amid reports he may not even see out the season.
A win for nearest challengers Lens on Friday had cut PSG’s lead at the top of the table to just three points before this game, and before the top two meet in Paris next weekend.
It was the first defeat in 15 matches in all competitions for Nice since former PSG midfielder Didier Digard replaced Lucien Favre as coach in January. It remains eighth in the table.
Galtier was booed by sections of the home support in Nice, the club he left last year to join PSG, but he saw Messi silence the crowd with the opening goal.
The Argentinian’s 14th Ligue 1 goal of the campaign came at the end of a week in which it emerged he was likely to leave Paris when his contract expires in the summer.
Before that, Danilo Pereira had already hit the woodwork for the visitors, who also saw injury-prone midfielder Renato Sanches come off hurt early on.
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.
It was an incredible let-off for the league leader, who was grateful to Donnarumma again as he made further stops from Pepe and Youssouf Ndayishimiye.
Ramos made it 2-0, but there was still time for Danilo to head against his crossbar late on.
Marseille can rejoin Lens and close back to within six points of PSG with a win at Lorient on Sunday.
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