Christopher Nkunku shines as PSG sneak past struggling Lorient
Paris Saint-Germain reacted positively to their humiliating Champions League exit at the hands of Barcelona by edging FC Lorient 2-1 on Sunday at Stade du Moustoir to remain within three points of AS Monaco at the Ligue 1 summit.
The win. After the shocking collapse Wednesday at Camp Nou, Unai Emery's men had no option but to win in Brittany, and they did just that.
Christopher Nkunku. The youth academy graduate has seized his opportunities to impress more or less every time he has been afforded one by the Spanish tactician, and this was no different. The 19-year-old was PSG's best player and scored the decisive second goal.
Although the performance was not particularly impressive, that was to be expected after Wednesday's shock reversal in Barcelona. The main thing was to start to get over the Catalonia nightmare, and that process has begun.
Serge Aurier's lack of professionalism. Called upon as an 81st-minute substitute, the Ivory Coast international embarrassed himself, his coach and his teammates by not being ready for action and forced to change into his kit before entering the pitch.
6 (out of 10) -- Ultimately, Emery selected a starting XI that got the job done at Stade du Moustoir, and that is all that could be asked of him and his players.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kevin Trapp, 5 -- The German shot-stopper could do nothing to keep out Michael Ciani's second-half effort, but he kept out a tame Sylvain Marveaux shot in the first. Otherwise, he had little to do.
DF Thomas Meunier, 6 -- The Belgium international grew into the match as it wore on and appeared to be rugby tackled by Mathieu Peybernes as Lorient equalised. He was substituted in the final 10 minutes after picking up an injury but had to delay his exit as Aurier dressed himself.
DF Marquinhos, 5 -- At fault for Ciani's goal, the Brazil international's difficult period continued after the Barcelona debacle.
DF Thiago Silva, 6 -- The captain got involved early on by going forward and enjoyed a solid enough night at the back without needing to excel.
DF Layvin Kurzawa, 3 -- The France international picked up where he left off in Barcelona. Inadequate.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 5 -- After a slow start to the match, Rabiot improved during the second half but was still well below his best.
MF Javier Pastore, 6 -- The Argentina international contributed more than Rabiot did from midfield, but like the Frenchman, El Flaco was put in the shade by vibrant youngster Nkunku.
MF Christopher Nkunku, 7 -- The talented teenager was the only PSG player really worthy of note in the first half, and he got a deserved first Ligue 1 goal in the second. Nkunku was outstanding, despite a late booking.
FW Angel Di Maria, 5 -- The Argentina international provided the ball in to create the opening goal but otherwise did not do enough from out wide, despite a late headed attempt.
FW Edinson Cavani, 6 -- Although the Uruguay international saw what he thought was his opening goal go down as a Benjamin Jeannot own goal, he still managed to contribute by providing Nkunku the assist instead. Cavani's strong leadership was on display once again, and he was fouled by Steven Moreira for what should have been a straight red card.
FW Julian Draxler, 5 -- Like many of his teammates, the Germany international was quiet during the first half and came into the contest in the second before being replaced by Hatem Ben Arfa.
DF Serge Aurier, NR -- Embarrassing. The right-back was sent on to replace the injured Meunier for the last nine minutes but should have played double that. Instead, his unprofessional antics on the touchline meant his positional rival was forced to stay on the pitch longer than needed.
FW Hatem Ben Arfa, NR -- The Frenchman barely had enough time to get on the ball -- let alone make anything happen.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.