Blaise Matuidi keeps PSG's title hopes alive with last-gasp winner at Metz
Blaise Matuidi saved Paris Saint-Germain's blushes and -- potentially -- their Ligue 1 title hopes with a late winner to beat Metz 3-2 away after the first half lead he and Edinson Cavani had built up was wiped out in the second by Yann Jouffre and Cheick Diabate.
Three dramatic points. Pre-match, all that mattered to the French champions was emerging from Stade Saint-Symphorien with a win but 2-0 up at half-time, better was expected of Unai Emery's men than a narrow victory. However, an apathetic second half required a late Matuidi header to save the day.
Matuidi. The France international's future beyond this summer is up in the air but his commitment to the cause cannot be questioned. Les Parisiens' No. 14 weighed in with two well-timed goals to secure the win.
Maxwell. The Brazilian veteran rolled back the years and produced a fine performance that was reminiscent of the left-back's prime days. Assists for both Cavani's opener and Matuidi's first capped an exemplary showing.
The Second half near-capitulation. Two goals up against a struggling opponent and needing a win to keep their title hopes alive, PSG should never have come within a whisker of defeat and needed a last-gasp winner. Questions will once again be asked -- justifiably -- of the players' collective mentality.
Lack of hunger. Although they are still grinding out the results of late, the capital outfit just do not look hungry enough for this season's Ligue 1 title.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Emery's decisions to bring on Javier Pastore and Goncalo Guedes did not exactly correct his starting XI errors but keeping Matuidi on for as long as he did got the Spaniard out of jail.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kevin Trapp, 4 -- The last 12 minutes were a nightmare for the German goalkeeper, who was beaten by an excellent Jouffre set piece, Diabate and then saw another Jouffre effort come back off the woodwork. Otherwise, there were times when he was merely a spectator.
DF Thomas Meunier, 5 -- The Belgian international started off getting forward regularly but was gradually forced to defend more as the match wore on.
DF Marquinhos, 5 -- The Brazilian was far from his best and his central defensive pairing with Presnel Kimpembe was not as solid as it was away at Angers.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, 5 -- The youth academy graduated fared well until the final 12 minutes when Metz nearly won the match.
DF Maxwell, 7 -- The evergreen Brazilian assisted Cavani and Matuidi's first-half goals and helped to create an excellent chance that Lucas Moura wasted. However, he could have done more defensively to prevent Diabate's equaliser for Metz.
MF Thiago Motta (C), 5 -- The experienced Italian international was good in the first half but quickly faded in the second as his lack of match fitness became apparent.
MF Marco Verratti, 6 -- The 24-year-old was reassured by Motta's presence but after a good first half, a hefty tackle early in the second effectively put him out of the game.
MF Blaise Matuidi, 8 -- Heroic. The 30-year-old might have missed two early chances but he took opportunities in each half, including a late headed effort, to secure the win.
FW Lucas Moura, 5 -- The Brazilian missed a brilliant first-half opportunity to open the scoring, which he really should have taken. Otherwise, he was busy but not decisive until Goncalo Guedes replaced him with 15 minutes to go.
FW Edinson Cavani, 6 -- The Uruguayan took one of his two chances in Metz. "El Matador" opened the scoring with a first-half header but missed a lobbed effort during the second 45 after Verratti did well to find him.
FW Angel Di Maria, 5 -- The Argentine was involved in flashes during the first half but ultimately faded out before being replaced by Javier Pastore just after the hour mark.
FW Javier Pastore, 6 -- Pastore replaced his compatriot Di Maria after 61 minutes and provided the crucial assist for Matuidi's headed winner.
FW Goncalo Guedes, NR -- The former Benfica boy was given 15 minutes at the end in place of Lucas and managed to miss one very good chance before Metz equalised.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.