Lionel Messi returns, Sergio Ramos scores and PSG cruise to 4-0 win over Reims

Lionel Messi made a comeback, signing Sergio Ramos in another marquee as Paris Saint-Germain restored their Ligue 1 lead to 11 points with a 4-0 win over Reims on Sunday.

Earlier, Nice narrowed the gap with a 2-0 win over Metz. But the three teams just behind them lost.

Messi, who returned from Covid, started on the bench, while Kylian Mbappe returned to the starting lineup after a groin strain, while Ramos made his second league debut of the season.

Marco Verratti put PSG ahead in the last minute of a sluggish first half, taking home their first Ligue 1 goal since May 2017.

PSG picked up the pace after the break.

Ramos, who arrived from Real in the summer, scored his first goal for the club. The central defender gave the quickest response to a loose ball from a PSG corner. After Predrag Rajkovic intercepted his first shot, the Spaniard again reacted swiftly to slam the rebound home.

“I am happy to have played 90 minutes and I am personally happy because this is my first goal with PSG, I hope there will be more,” Ramos said.

“It’s been three weeks since I started playing normally with the group. We have the Cup, we have the league, we have the Champions League, this is the best time to get in shape,” he said.

That goal, which brought Ramos level with Messi on a league goal this season, also served as a sign of Messi coming.

In the 67th minute, Messi set up Verratti for a shot that drove two defenders into the top corner.

Danilo Pereira added a fourth as PSG tallied their biggest league win of the season.

Earlier, Khefrain Thuram’s goal set up a precious 2-0 win for Nice as they watched struggling Metz move back into second place.

World Cup winner Lillian’s 20-year-old son Khefren scored in the 58th minute, while Amin Gauri’s late spot-kick completed the victory with a cheeky Panenka.

Three points lift Nice above their bitter south coast rivals Marseille, who are two points behind in third with a game in hand.

“We are still far behind (PSG) to think about the top spot. I am more concerned with what is happening behind us,” Nice coach Christophe Gaultier said.

“It’s all about scoring points and it can be tough when the opponent is fighting relegation.”

‘Perfect game’

Strasbourg suffered a 4–3 loss in Bordeaux where Hwang Ui-jo scored a hat-trick to push the home team out of the bottom three.

Bordeaux, who did not score in three league and cup games this year while winning 10, scored three hits in the first 38 minutes but were sweating their way to victory as their defense scored three goals.

“Hwang had a perfect game, he took us out on several occasions. He has had some difficulties in the last few games, so I am very happy that he is back,” said Bordeaux’s Under Threat coach Vladimir Petkovic.

“I’m sorry we scored three goals. We had a great first half but then the fear of winning the game took hold,” Petkovic said.

Rennes took an 18th-minute lead over another struggler Clermont with a goal from Baptiste Santamaria, but missed several other opportunities and paid off in the second half.

Former Rennes player Lucas da Cunha scored in the 59th minute and Jordan Tell in the 70th minute.

Montpellier beat Monaco 3-2 to finish sixth.

Eli Wahi gave the home team the lead in the 13th minute and Steffi Mavididi scored twice, the winner coming in stoppage time.

Wissam Ben Yedder and Vanderson scored for Monaco, dropping to seventh.

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