Despite holding a comfortable lead only weeks ago, Paris Saint-Germain sat only three points ahead of second place RC Lens before their trip to Troyes. The hosts are on the verge of relegation, so this match could be a good opportunity for PSG to extend their lead in the league. Troyes have been poor this season, and headed into this match in 19th – 12 points from safety with only 5 matches remaining. Troyes have been pitiful recently, having failed to win since their first match of 2023 back in January – going winless in their last 17 matches.
Patrick Kisnorbo’s Troyes side made just one change to their 3-4-2-1, moving Mama Baldé from striker to attacking midfielder, and bringing on Ike Ugbo to replace Jeff Reine-Adélaide. On the other hand, Christophe Galtier’s side switched from a 4-2-4 to a 3-5-2. Lionel Messi made way for Hugo Ekitike, Fabian Ruiz replace Carlos Soler in the midfield, and the suspended Achraf Hakimi was replaced by Warren Zaire-Emery.
TRO: Gallon; Palmer-Brown, Rami, Zoukrou; Bruus, Agoume, Chavalerin, Larouci; Baldé, Ugbo, Odobert
PSG: Donnarumma; Pereira, Ramos, Marquinhos; Bernat, Ruiz, Verratti, Vitinha, Zaire-Emery; Mbappé, Ekitike
PSG began the game on the attack, with a few early shots that were off target. In the 7th minute, however, Marco Verratti won a throw in and found Vitinha on the right wing. Vitinha sent in a cross that hit the crossbar- and while Gauthier Gallon thought it was going out, it instead bounced off the bar for Kylian Mbappé. The Frenchman nodded in an easy header to give PSG an early lead.
PSG continued to attack and the Troyes defense were unable to stop them. Minutes later, Mbappé almost bagged PSG’s second goal, when Verratti sent a beautiful ball into the box for him that gave him the chance to head home. However, he couldn’t get any power on it and Gallon easily picked it up.
The chances kept on coming for PSG as Ruiz got the ball on the edge of the box, and cut inside before sending a bending shot at the bottom right corner – but Gallon was able to dive and make the save. Ruiz would soon get another chance from the same spot though, after intercepting a bad ball from Tanguy Zoukrou. He sent a low shot at the bottom left post, which resulted in another Gallon diving save.
Troyes finally got a chance a minute later. On a counterattack, Odobert sent a through ball for Baldé. Baldé was unable to take control as he was sandwiched by PSG defenders, and Gianluigi Donnarumma came out to knock the ball – and Baldé – away. Ugbo got the loose ball and struck it at goal with Donnarumma still on the ground, but it was blocked well by Marquinhos.
PSG soon got back in their groove though, with numerous chances including a Mbappé bicycle kick attempt. A Troyes counterattack would bring the ball back into PSG territory as the half wound down though, and the hosts ended up with a corner kick that was rebounded to Xavier Chavalerin on the right wing, who sent in a low cross that a diving Baldé connected with. Donnarumma quickly reacted, and sent the ball out.
PSG got the second half started with yet more shots, as Ekitike got the ball on the left wing, and worked his way around the Troyes defenders on the edge of the box before launching a shot at the centre of the goal. Gallon easily saved, and the chance would eventually go out for a PSG throw in.
However, Troyes weren’t out of trouble yet. Ekitike again got the ball, this time on the right wing, and cut inside before sending a through ball into the box for Verratti – but the Italian’s near post strike was saved by Gallon.
At this point, Troyes were lucky to only be trailing by one goal – but that wouldn’t last long. In the 59th minute, Verratti sent a beautiful ball over the top into the box for Vitinha, who was completely unmarked. His header was saved by Gallon, but the ball bounced back into Vitinha’s leg before trickling over the line. PSG now had their second and were cruising to victory.
Sadly for Troyes fans, PSG wouldn’t stop attacking. Vitinha drove into the box once more, getting swarmed by Troyes defenders. After some incredibly skilled dribbling, he managed to get around five defenders before playing the ball back to Ruiz. He then found the run of Juan Bernat on the left wing, who sent a tough angled shot at goal – Gallon was able to make the save though.
But then hope came for Troyes, as substitute Rony Lopes found Papa Ndiaga Yade on the left wing, who sent it into the box for Chavalerin. He headed it into the top right corner, as a massive mistake from Donnarumma let the ball nestle beautifully – and the hosts had clawed one back.
Despite signs of promise for the hosts, PSG soon restored their two-goal lead. After an interception, substitute Renato Sanches sent a low cross to the centrr of the box for a wide open Mbappe, whose shot was saved by Gallon. However, the ball rebounded to Ruiz – and the midfielder duly found the back of the net.
That goal would end Troyes’ hopes of getting points, and PSG went on to claim a comfortable win – and more importantly, all three points. This result crushes any remaining hopes Troyes may have had of staying in the top flight of French football. On the other hand, PSG can possibly essentially clinch the Ligue 1 title next weekend with a win over Ajaccio, depending on the results of the Lens game.