Lionel Messi and Achraf Hakimi were on target as Paris Saint-Germain came from behind to beat Toulouse 2-1 and go eight points clear at the top of Ligue 1.
Branco van den Boomen’s free-kick gave Toulouse a surprise lead at the Parc des Princes on Saturday, but the champions fought back without injured duo Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Hakimi equalised with a sublime first-half strike and he was credited with the assist for a brilliantly taken second goal from Messi after the break.
PSG were good value for a victory that increased their advantage over Marseille at the summit and they will take some stopping in their quest to retain the title.
It’s over! We win – Toulouse FC!
Leo Messi 58′ #PSGTFC pic.twitter.com/9uTcRrnyKG
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) February 4, 2023
PSG suffered an early blow when Renato Sanches was seemingly in tears as he departed with an injury and they were rocked again when Van den Boomen sent a free-kick to the left of the wall and into the far corner 20 minutes in.
Marquinhos nodded Messi’s whipped corner against the post and PSG were relieved to see the offside flag go up after Zakaria Aboukhlal thought he had headed Toulouse into a two-goal lead.
Hakimi produced the moment of quality the leaders had been lacking to level seven minutes before the break, cutting in from the right and unleashing a venomous left-foot drive that found the back of the net from 20 yards out.
The marauding Hakimi was involved in PSG’s second goal just before the hour-mark, embarking on a run that that resulted in Messi firing a clinical left-foot finish beyond Maxime Dupe from outside the box.
PSG did not see the game out in convincing fashion and Mikkel Desler spurned a great chance to make it 2-2, before Messi rattled the post in a frantic finale.
What does it mean? PSG march on in the absence of key men
PSG made hard work of securing another three points, but they just about got the job done with Mbappe, Neymar and Sergio Ramos among the absentees.
They have not lost in 33 Ligue 1 games at home (W28 D5), the best current run in the top five European Leagues.
Second-placed Marseille will attempt to reduce the deficit when they face Nice at home on Sunday.
More Messi magic
Messi made yet another decisive impact, sweeping home the winner with a classy first-time finish.
The Argentina captain took the game by the scruff of the neck to make the difference again and could have had a hat-trick on another day.
Hakimi makes things happen
It was Hakimi who conjured up the moment of class to get PSG back on level terms, before his pace and power presented Messi with half a chance to score the winner.
The Morocco international’s 96 touches were more than any other player on the park and he was in the thick of the action at both ends of the pitch.
Key Opta Facts
– PSG have won their last two Ligue 1 games (3-1 at Montpellier, 2-1 v Toulouse), after winning just once in their first four in 2023 (D1 L2).
– PSG have not lost any of their past 33 Ligue 1 games at home (W28 D5), the best current run in the top five European leagues.
– Hakimi has scored his last two Ligue 1 goals from outside the box, after scoring just once from distance in his first 22 in the top five European leagues.
– Since the start of the last season, only Martin Terrier and Teji Savanier (six) have scored more goals from outside the box in Ligue 1 than Messi (five).
– Since his debut with Toulouse in 2020-21, no player has scored more goals from direct free kick than Van den Boomen in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 (five).
A huge Coupe de France clash at Marseille on Wednesday in next up for PSG, while Toulouse face a home tie against Reims.