Folarin Balogun’s late equalizer denied Paris Saint-Germain the win and kept Stade de Reims’ impressive 14-game unbeaten run going on Sunday in a 1-1 draw. Neymar had looked set to reopen a five-point gap on RC Lens at the Ligue 1 summit for the 10-man hosts but U.S. men’s national team-eligible Balogun had other ideas and snatched the draw.
It was no less than deserved for Reims, who played some superb stuff at Parc des Princes and out-shot PSG in the first half but were unable to get the goal their enterprise merited. In fact, it looked like they would leave empty-handed when Neymar opened the scoring against the run of play early in the second half, and Balogun then had a Reims penalty overturned via VAR due to offside.
Marco Verratti’s foul on Junya Ito was also spotted which earned the Italy international a red card just 15 minutes into his return from injury after coming on as a substitute. Achraf Hakimi also had a goal disallowed as Verratti’s ejection actually sparked a bit of life out of the hosts, who were sluggish in attack as Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe failed to fire.
Just as it looked as if PSG would seal three flattering points, though, Balogun salvaged a draw for Reims from a Kamory Doumbia assist to keep them unbeaten and add another feather to Will Still’s cap.
Balogun is on loan from Arsenal and has been the subject of much speculation regarding his international future, which could lie with the USMNT as he was born in New York City. This was his 11th goal of the Ligue 1 season and the Gunners could look to bring him back to Emirates Stadium for next season, too.
For PSG, it was another worrying display from a team that has not looked or seemed right since the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The UEFA Champions League is set to return this coming month and Mbappe, Messi and Neymar are still below-par despite a four-point lead in Ligue 1.