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Business as usual for Messi and Ramos as old rivals see of Reims

Elsewhere Lilian Thuram’s son scores as Nice moved above their bitter south coast rivals Marseille.

Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

Updated Jan 23rd 2022, 10:43 PM

LIONEL MESSI RETURNED, another marquee signing Sergio Ramos scored as Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a 4-0 victory over Reims on Sunday to restore their Ligue 1 lead to 11 points.

Earlier, Nice briefly cut the gap with a 2-0 win at Metz. But three of the teams just behind them lost.

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

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas also returned, rushed back into the lineup after a bout of Covid due to an injury to Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Marco Verratti put PSG ahead in the final minute of a sluggish first half, drilling home his first Ligue 1 goal since May 2017.

PSG upped the tempo after the break.

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

That goal brought Ramos level with Messi on one league goal this season, it also acted as the cue for Messi to come on.

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

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

Earlier, Khephren Thuram’s goal set up a precious 2-0 away win for Nice as they saw off strugglers Metz to climb to second place in France’s Ligue 1.

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Thuram is one of the footballing sons of French 1998 World Cup icon Lilian Thuram, who scored twice in a memorable semi-final win over Croatia.

This afternoon the strapping 20-year-old Khephren opened the scoring for Nice in the 58th minute while a late spot-kick from Amine Gouiri completed the victory with a cheeky Panenka down the centre.

The three points lift Nice, owned by British chemicals magnate Jim Ratcliffe, above their bitter south coast rivals Marseille, who are a point behind in third with a game in hand.

Nice are coached by Christophe Galtier who joined the club on a high after leading Lille to the French league title last season.

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