PARIS — Lionel Messi‘s second-half goal helped a lackluster Paris Saint-Germain beat Toulouse 2-1 to move eight points clear at the top of the French league on Saturday.
The superstar struck with a typical curling strike in the 57th minute following a move with Morocco right back Achraf Hakimi, who drew PSG level late in the first half after free kick specialist Branco van den Boomen put Toulouse ahead in the 20th.
PSG was without injured forwards Kylian Mbappé and Neymar and relied heavily on Messi, who hit the post during stoppage time.
Mbappé is out for at least three weeks after sustaining a left thigh tear. Neymar is having treatment for a sore adductor and missed his second straight game. PSG‘s injury woes increased when Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches went off injured in the 13th with a thigh injury.
PSG had lost two and drawn one of its previous five matches, and fell behind in the 20th when Van den Boomen’s free kick from the right flew past stranded goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma into the left corner.
After Marquinhos hit the post with a header from Messi‘s corner, PSG equalized with a fine 20-meter strike from Hakimi in the 38th.
PHOTOS: Messi's goal helps French leader PSG beat Toulouse 2-1
In late games, fifth-placed Rennes was at home to sixth-placed Lille and inconsistent Lyon played at lowly Troyes.
Second-placed Marseille needs to beat Nice at home on Sunday to stay five points behind PSG ahead of their clash on Feb. 26.
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