PLAYER RATINGS | Nantes 3-1 PSG, Alban Lafont’s stupendous display sees PSG’s Ligue 1 luck run out

Ligue 1 21/22, Round 25 – 19/2/22

NANTES – 3 (Kolo-Muani 4, Merlin 16, Blas 45)

Alban Lafont, 10 – He made seven brilliant saves, including six one-on-ones. Although PSG’s finishing wasn’t always too precise, he did especially well to smother Messi’s dinked effort with his chest and to save low from Mbappé early on. A stop with his foot from Gueye, when diving the wrong way at close range, was a highlight.

Jean-Charles Castelletto, 6

Dennis Appiah, 5

Nicolas Pallois, 7 – A typically committed and agricultural display. He was unerringly bullish in a superb second-half performance but he was lucky to get away with some clumsily play before halftime as Lafont and others saved him. Overall, however, he still did enough for a 7.

Osman Bukari, 5

Quentin Merlin, 7 – Still just 19, left-sided player Merlin is becoming one of the finds of the Ligue 1 season. Although still a little raw, he’s now a fixture in the side and he showed his bourgeoning assuredness and maturity at wing-back here. He fired in a glorious second from the edge of the area too.

Andrei Girotto, 9 – Led his team with 19 defensive actions, making the most blocks, tackles, clearances and interceptions of anyone in the game. His last-ditch intervention ahead of Messi with the goal gaping at 3-1 may have given Nantes the points. Outstanding.

Pedro Chirivella, 7 – Neat and tidy in midfield as usual but some of his long passing was majestic, and he was key to Nantes’ plan to catch PSG in transition and counter at pace at every opportunity.

Ludovic Blas, 8 – He faded after the break but his first half display may have won Nantes the game. A visionary early progressive pass created the counter for the first goal while it was his turn and pace that beat Neymar and Verratti to instigate the attack for the second before he smacked home the penalty. His positivity in possession, intensity and fearlessness defined Nantes’ performance. 

Moses Simon, 9 – Absolutely terrorised Marquinhos and Kehrer with his pace, skill and directness all night. It was he who bypassed Kehrer with a lightning run and a deft assist for Kolo-Muani’s opener and he could have had a handful more. Most memorably, his pace bypassed Marquinhos during a fraught first 20 minutes before crossing for Kolo-Muani, who should’ve scored from close range. Unplayable at times.

Randal Kolo-Muani, 6

Others: Sa 5, Coco 5, Traore 5, Corchia 5.

PSG -1 (Neymar 47)

Keylor Navas, 5

Thilo Kehrer, 2

Marquinhos, 2 – He clearly didn’t trust Kehrer to handle Simon (understandably) and he regularly pulled wide to help, which left a gaping hole in PSG’s defence – one which could have been exploited even more than it was. Unfortunately, he was just as ineffective against the Nigerian’s pace.

Presnel Kimpembe, 5

Juan Bernat, 4

Marco Verratti, 5

Idrissa Gueye, 4

Georginio Wijnaldum, 2 – He had zero effect on the game, as usual, and his ill-advised waving of an arm gave away the penalty. Hauled off after an hour. Effectively anonymous again.

Neymar, 6 – A promising first start after 13 matches out through injury. In possession, he played with intensity and focus and, were it not for Lafont’s heroics, he might have had a handful of goal contributions. His penalty was embarrassingly weak, however, like much of his attempted defensive work and he noticeably flagged after the break despite gracefully converting Messi’s through ball for the goal.

Kylian Mbappé, 4

Lionel Messi, 7 – Like Neymar, he can’t be blamed for Lafont’s outrageous goalkeeping display, his interplay off the front was often sharp and some of his progressive passing was glorious – his defence-splitting assist for Neymar’s goal was a highlight. He was crowded out and picked off semi-regularly, however, as he tried to create, but still did just enough for a 7.

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Others: Hakimi 5, Icardi 5, Di Maria 5, Draxler 5, Mendes 6.