Neymar scored the only goal of the game, but PSG had Gianluigi Donnarumma to thank for saving a penalty to preserve a 1-0 victory over lowly Brest.
PSG understandably did not have the ruthless edge they showed against Juventus in midweek, but took the lead on the half-hour mark when Lionel Messi’s delightful ball over the top was brought down by Neymar on his right foot and then immediately dispatched home with his left.
They dominated much of the match thereafter, with Kylian Mbappe having a goal ruled out just before the break due to a narrow offside decision and then Messi heading the speedster’s cross against the post.
With just a goal advantage, and the side still looking suspect in defence despite a change of leadership over the summer, the lead remained precarious and when Presenel Kimpembe brought down Noah Fadiga, former Leicester striker Islam Slimani had the chance to level the scores.
His walk-up penalty technique seemed ill-advised against specialist stopper Donnarumma and the Italian stretched his left arm to push the ball away from goal.
PSG go top with victory, Brest remain fourth bottom.
Donnarumma repays coach’s faith – Christophe Galtier was quizzed on whether he would bring Keylor Neves back into the side after Gianluigi Donnarumma’s howler gifted Juventus a goal in the Champions League. Under Mauirico Pochettino last season the goalkeepers split duties through the season, but Galtier insisted Donnarumma would remain the number one and he showed why when he was required late in the game. He showed last year in the European Championships the quality he has between the sticks and though he did not play at the same level during the ensuing season, his new boss is right to stick with him as, given how the PSG defence is unlikely to be ever be water-tight, they will need him at his best if they are to win the Champions League at the end of the season.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Lionel Messi (PSG) – He is obviously not the Messi of old and his goal ratio is likely to be nearer to one in three rather than a goal a game, but he remains a dazzling figure to watch. The only reason there are other players talked about more when it comes to pure passing ability is because his dribbling was so unfathomably great it dwarfed his other stellar quality. Now he now plays more like Yugoslav and AC Milan legend Dejan Savicevic. Much of the game you see him flat-footed, before coming into life as possession is set to come his way, where he can then dink, cajole or fizz in a pass with his left foot that no one else on the pitch can execute. His assist for Neymar was glorious, but he made at least three more through-balls which were the equal of that during the game.
PSG: Donnarumma 8; Ramos 7, Pereira 7, Kimpembe 7; Hakimi 7, Verratti 6, Vitinha 6, Bernat 7; Messi 8*, Neymar 7, Mbappe 7. Subs: Ekitike 6, Mendes 6, Fabiam 6, Sarabia 6, Marquinhos 7.
Brest: Bizot 7; Fadiga 7, Herelle 6, Chardonnet 6, Brassier 6, Duvenre 6; Camara 7, Less-Melou 7, Belkebla 7; Honorat 6, Slimani 5. Subs: Dari 6, Magnetti 7, Cardona 6, Pereira Lage 6, Uronen 6.
24′ HERELLE SENT OFF! His sliding challenge just missed the ball and saw him collect Neymar’s leg just outside the penalty area.
27′ RED CARD RESCINDED! Neymar was just offside as he ran onto Messi’s through ball.
30′ GOAL! PSG 1-0 Brest (Neymar): It has been coming. Yet another fantastic ball from Messi over the defence and this time Neymar’s touch was its usual silk, transferring the ball to his left foot which he used to fire home.
50′ MESSI HITS POST WITH HEADER! A measured cross from the left hand side of the area from Mbappe which Messi heads back across the keeper but the ball comes back off the post.
69′ PENALTY FOR BREST! Kimpembe gives the kick away by fouling Fadiga in the area.
70′ PENALTY SAVED! Slimani walked towards the spot before trying to place the ball in the corner where Donnarumma with those elasticated arms reached to his left to push the ball behind for a corner.