Lionel Messi sets up three goals but PSG win over Saint-Etienne marred by Neymar injury

Brazilian attacker awaits test results after badly twisting his ankle in the runaway Ligue 1 leaders' 3-1 victory

Lionel Messi set up all of Paris Saint-Germain's goals in a 3-1 win over 10-man Saint-Etienne on Sunday - but the result was marred by a nasty looking ankle injury to Brazilian forward Neymar.

PSG found themselves a goal down after 23 minutes when Denis Bouanga put the home side in front but Timothee Kolodziejczak was sent-off for a foul on Kylian Mbappe on the stroke of half-time and Marquinhos headed PSG level from the resulting free-kick.

After relentless PSG pressure, Angel di Maria curled in the second with 11 minutes left and Marquinhos added a third for the visitors in added time - with Messi supplying the bullets for all three.

The result puts Mauricio Pochettino's side on 40 points from 15 games in Ligue 1, 12 clear of second-placed Rennes.

Saint-Etienne, who mounted a decent challenge despite being a man down as snow fell on Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, are now bottom of the table with 12 points.

The game marked Sergio Ramos's debut for PSG, almost five months after joining from Real Madrid as a free agent, and the Spaniard started in central defence alongside Marquinhos and enjoyed a comfortable afrternoon.

Saint-Etienne pressed high and PSG looked to hit them on the break, with Neymar finding the back of the net early on only for his goal to be ruled out for offside.

The hosts went ahead after 24 minutes when Kolodziejczak, set up by a superb Wahbi Khazri through-ball, shot straight at goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma but Bouanga followed up and fired home from point-blank range.

English goalkeeper Etienne Green delayed PSG’s comeback by palming away Neymar’s angled strike in the 40th and Kylian Mbappe’s low effort a minute later.

The momentum swung towards PSG a couple of minutes just before the break. Kolodziejczak was harshly shown a straight red card for bringing down Mbappe as the France striker charged towards goal and Marquinhos headed home Messi's perfectly-executed free kick.

"At best that was too harsh," said Saint-Etienne manager Claude Puel said of the sending-off. "It changed the match, we were leading and doing well."

Messi was at it again 11 minutes from time, whipping a fine pass behind the back of the defence for Di Maria, who finished with a curling effort into the far corner of the net.

Marquinhos who outjumped Miguel Trauco to head home again from Messi's cross in the last minute, three minutes after Neymar was carried off after treading on a defender's leg and twisting his ankle in a fall that made his teammates wince.

"For the moment there is nothing to say," Pochettino said after the game. "He felt pain from the twist of his ankle. Tomorrow, he will take tests and we will know a little more about his injury."

"Unfortunately, these setbacks are a part of an athlete’s life," Neymar said on Instagram. "Now you have to raise your head and move on. I will come back better and stronger."

Updated: November 28th 2021, 5:12 PM