Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Nice: Player ratings as Messi & Mbappe save PSG

Messi was at his best
Messi was at his best / Xavier Laine/GettyImages

Paris Saint-Germain left it late to beat Nice 2-1 at Parc des Princes and return to the top of the Ligue 1 table.

Christophe Galtier remains unbeaten as manager but found it tough against his former side, and required a goal from substitute Kylian Mbappe to secure victory against the early-season strugglers.

Nice had the better of the opening ten minutes, but PSG came close to breaking the deadlock through a Lionel Messi free-kick, though his 30-yard strike bounced just wide of the post.

Ross Barkley, on loan at Nice from Chelsea, was set racing through on goal by Mario Lemina, but was well marshalled by a retreating Marquinhos and the hosts were let off the hook for their insanely high line.

PSG took the lead after half an hour when Messi danced his way through the Nice defence, eventually drawing a foul from Dante, and the Argentine stepped up to fire home the resulting free-kick from the edge of the penalty area.

Messi nearly doubled the lead in first-half stoppage time with a stinging strike from 18 yards, but his time Kasper Schmeichel was able to push it over the top.

But just after the restart, Nice found a leveller. Youcef Atal's cross bounced between and over both of Marquinhos and Nordi Mukiele, allowing Gaetan Laborde to scramble home from close range.

Another ball in from Atal caused a panic in the PSG box minutes later, and the hosts were fortunate that Melvin Bard fired over with his weaker right foot.

Vitinha and Neymar both flashed shots off target at the end of swift PSG counter attacks, while Messi somehow picked out Nuno Mendes with a through ball only for the wing-back to be denied by the legs of Schmeichel.

And Nice's resistance caved in with just under ten minutes remaining when Mukiele won the ball back high up the pitch, and his cutback was swept home by Mbappe to steal the win.

PSG vs Nice player ratings, Ligue 1

1. PSG (3-4-3)

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma - 5/10 - Should probably have commanded his box a bit better in the lead up to the equaliser.

CB: Nordi Mukiele - 6/10 - Bombed on to support Hakimi well. Caught out for Nice's equaliser, however

CB: Marquinhos - 5/10 - Similarly lost concentration to allow Laborde to level the scoring.

CB: Sergio Ramos - 6/10 - Endured a quiet evening despite of Nice's joys down his side.

RM: Achraf Hakimi - 5/10 - His runs helped open the game up and create space for Messi but he was ineffective on the ball and in his own half.

CM: Vitinha - 5/10 - Was too safe with his distribution when his forward teammates were making darting runs.

CM: Fabian Ruiz - 5/10 - Shied away from possession at times. Messi and Neymar had to come deep to retrieve the ball too often.

LM: Juan Bernat - 6/10 - Got to the byline almost every time PSG went forward.

RF: Lionel Messi - 8/10 - Was in his own groove and was rewarded with a wonderful goal. A lot of his teammates weren't on his level.

LF: Neymar - 4/10 - Little of the trickery Neymar pulled off worked. Would have been better off playing either a simpler or more intense game.

CF: Hugo Ekitike - 6/10 -
Showed flashes of quality but didn't quite seem on the same wavelength as his superstar teammates, unsure whether to hold the ball up or run in behind.

SUB: Kylian Mbappe (59' for Ekitike) - 7/10

SUB: Nuno Mendes (59' for Bernat) - 5/10

SUB: Renato Sanches (72' for Fabian) - N/A

SUB: Pablo Sarabia (88' for Messi) - N/A

SUB: Danilo Pereira (88' for Sanches) - N/A

Manager: Christophe Galtier - 5/10 - PSG were slow and laborious for the most part, and were quite fortunate to walk away with the points.

2. Nice (4-2-3-1)

GK: Kasper Schmeichel (5); RB: Youcef Atal (7), CB: Mattia Viti (5), CB: Dante (5), LB: Melvin Bard (5); CM: Pablo Rosario (6); CM: Mario Lemina (7), RM: Ross Barkley (6), AM: Aaron Ramsey (4), LM: Sofiane Diop (6); CF: Gaetan Laborde (7)

Subs: Khephren Thuram-Ulien (6), Nicolas Pepe (5), Jordan Lotomba (N/A), Alexis Beka Beka (N/A), Andy Delort (N/A)

Manager: Lucien Favre - 7/10

Player of the Match - Lionel Messi