Paris Saint-Germain were minutes away from not only blowing a two-goal lead against FC Metz at the Stade Saint-Symphorien on Tuesday but also dropping two vital points, which would all but hand AS Monaco the Ligue 1 title with five league games remaining. Luckily for Unai Emery and PSG supporters around the world, Blaise Matuidi was on the pitch to save the day.
Late in the second half, Metz battled back to draw the game level at 2 following goals from Yann Jouffre (78) and Cheick Diabate (88). It was a deflating way to surrender the lead and given PSG’s struggles on the road this season I never expected what happened next.
With less than two minutes remaining in stoppage time, Les Parisiens threw everything that had into the attack and were rewarded when Matuidi headed Javier Pastore’s pass into the back of the net for the winning goal. Emery and the bench erupted into celebration in a scene you rarely see from them (especially in Ligue 1 play) while the Metz players fell to the pitch in exhaustion.
The Metz fans pushed after the first goal, which led to the second. At that moment, we needed to play with heart in the final minutes to get the three points. The team played the last four minutes with the attitude that we wanted to win. What we have to retain is that we mustn’t let our opponents back into the match.–Unai Emery, PSG.fr
The win obviously keeps PSG in the hunt for the league title and with another win on Saturday against Montpellier HSC, the capital club will provisionally go three points clear at the top of the table. Monaco have a tough test against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League and then travel to Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday. If everything goes PSG’s way, they could salvage what has been a difficult season and be celebrating a fifth consecutive championship.
It was important for PSG to get the win by any means necessary and they did that thanks to surprising performances from two key starters. Prior to Tuesday’s match, Matuidi had only scored two goals in Ligue 1 all season. Against Metz, he doubled his goal tally with one in the first half and the game-winner in stoppage time. WhoScored.com rated the 30-year-old a 9.1 and he’s easily the unanimous choice for man of the match.
Maxwell wasn’t too far behind with his surprising performance. The ageless Brazilian recorded two assists, completed 95 percent of his passes, and was rated 8.0 by WhoScored.com. With Layvin Kurzawa struggling with knee issues, Maxwell could see plenty of playing time as the season comes to an end.
PSG continue to grind out victories and at this point in the season that’s all that matters with two trophies still up for grabs. The team now has a few days to rest and prepare for what promises to be an exciting climax to the 2016-17 season.