Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Reims: Ramos nets as PSG go 11 points clear
Sergio Ramos scored his first Paris Saint-Germain goal as the Ligue 1 leaders cruised to a 4-0 victory over Reims.
The defender, who has endured a challenging start to life in the French capital since his switch from Real Madrid, opened his account for Mauricio Pochettino's side with a close-range second-half finish at the Parc des Princes.
Marco Verratti began the scoring with his first league goal in just under five years, while Wout Faes' own goal and a Danilo Pereira strike sealed the points as the hosts moved 11 points clear at the top of the table.
PSG, who also welcomed back Lionel Messi following his absence due to COVID-19, have now won the last four Ligue 1 meetings between these sides, keeping a clean sheet on each occasion.
Unbeaten in 13 home league games, PSG quickly took control of proceedings. Pereira headed over from a corner, while Kylian Mbappe shot straight at Predrag Rajkovic.
The hosts broke through just before half-time; Icardi's blocked effort ricocheting for Verratti, who beat Rajkovic with a sweetly struck shot.
Seeking only a third win from 15 away matches, Reims almost found a leveller after the break. Nathanael Mbuku drew a smart save out of Keylor Navas, before Hugo Ekitike sent the rebound over.
However, it was PSG who doubled their lead in the 62nd minute as Ramos prodded home at the second attempt after his initial strike following a corner was parried by Rajkovic.
Five minutes later, two became three with Verratti's strike taking two deflections – the latter off Faes – before nestling in the far corner.
Mauro Icardi was denied shortly afterwards before Pereira got in on the act with a quarter of an hour remaining, latching onto Mbappe's centre before his deflected shot flew past Rajkovic.
What does it mean? PSG in cruise control
PSG have now suffered just one defeat in their last 29 matches in Ligue 1. This was another dominant display by the hosts, who enjoyed over two-thirds of the possession, completing 833 passes and registering 22 shots.
Meanwhile, it is back-to-back defeats for Reims, who are only five points clear of the relegation zone.
An unlikely source
PSG took 44 minutes to break the deadlock and the opener came courtesy of Verratti, who found the net in Ligue 1 for the first time since scoring in a 5-0 victory over Bastia in May 2017.
The Italy international, whose shot also led to his side's third goal, recorded 113 touches and 99 passes – both bettered only by Leandro Paredes and Ramos. Meanwhile, he gained possession 10 times, with only Pereira (11) topping that.
Icardi has only netted four times in 18 Ligue 1 appearances this season, and his lack of confidence was evident here.
Although he recorded a game-high tally of five shots (matched by Mbappe), just one was on target – a close-range attempt that he hit straight at the goalkeeper.
Also, his totals of 23 touches and 14 passes were the lowest recorded by any PSG starter.
Key Opta facts
- PSG have won two consecutive Ligue 1 games for the first time since November, after winning only one of the previous five (D4). Mauricio Pochettino's team have not conceded a goal in their last four Ligue 1 games at home, their longest streak since December 2020 to February 2021 (5 games).
- PSG benefited from their third own goal in Ligue 1 this season. No other team have had more. Reims conceded their first own goal in the top flight since November 2020 (Thomas Foket at Lens).
- Verratti's goal ended his streak of 101 games without scoring in Ligue 1.
- Ramos may be only just off the mark for PSG, but he has a prolific past, and the former Real Madrid and Sevilla star now has 75 league goals, more than any other defender from the top five European leagues in the 21st century.
- Mbappe delivered his ninth assist in Ligue 1 this term, his highest tally in a season in the top flight.
PSG are back in action on January 31 when they host Nice in the Coupe de France, before travelling to Lille in Ligue 1 six days later. Reims' next game is a cup clash with Bastia on January 29.