Lionel Messi scores stunner to help PSG to narrow win

LONDON (Agencies): Lionel Messi scored in the second half to help Paris Saint-Germain recover from a woeful start and extend their Ligue 1 lead to a provisional eight points with a 2-1 home victory over Toulouse on Saturday.
Messi struck the winner after the break with his third goal in his last five league games to put PSG on 54 points from 22 games. Achraf Hakimi had cancelled out Branco van den Boomen’s opener in the first half for Christophe Galtier’s side, who had only won two of their last five matches in Ligue 1.
The result left Toulouse in 12th place on 29 points.
Marseille are second on 46 points before hosting Nice on Sunday with third-placed Lens travelling to Stade Brestois. Without Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, both injured, Messi was flanked by Hugo Ekitike in attack with Vitinha just behind. “Lionel was our engine, he scored and created chances. I ask of the team that they play for him,” said Galtier.
“His team mates need to make more efforts defensively to give him more freedom to create movement and opportunities.” Renato Sanches was on in midfield following Marco Verratti’s suspension, but the Portugal international left the pitch in tears after sustaining a thigh injury on 12 minutes.
Van den Boomen then opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a finely taken free kick that left Gianlugi Donnarumma with both feet stuck in the ground. Marquinhos latched onto a Messi free kick, only for his deflection to hit the post 12 minutes before the break, but Hakimi was more precise five minutes later with a superb curled attempt from outside the box.
Messi then curled another one into the bottom corner from outside the area in the 58th minute to put PSG decisively ahead, coming close to adding one more in stoppage time only to hit the post.