Talking points from European soccer

Ligue 1 - Paris St Germain v Toulouse
Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - Paris St Germain v Toulouse - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - February 4, 2023 Paris St Germain's Achraf Hakimi scores their first goal REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Feb 5 (Reuters) - Talking points from the weekend in European soccer leagues:


Paris St Germain extended their Ligue 1 lead as their rivals failed to win and despite yet another sub-par performance, the capital side took all three points in a 2-1 win over Toulouse with Lionel Messi scoring the winner.

It was Achraf Hakimi, however, who shone the brightest as he levelled with a superb curled shot from outside the box before setting up Messi for the second.

"I've become more confident with the World Cup," the fullback said after being instrumental in Morocco's run to the semi-finals.


Vinicius Jr was targeted by defenders as Real Madrid lost 1-0 at Mallorca on Sunday, with the Brazilian suffering 10 fouls, the most endured by any player in LaLiga this season.

According to Opta, which has been recording data since the 2005-06 season, it has been 10 years since a Real player suffered as many fouls in a league match - Isco in his debut in 2013 against Real Betis.

Vinicius's tally was close to the all time LaLiga record of 12 fouls suffered by Celta Vigo's Gustavo Lopez in 2007.

Mallorca were shown five yellow cards on Sunday and committed a total of 29 fouls in the match against Real, the most a LaLiga team has recorded since November 2020.

Having suffered 79 fouls so far this season, the 22-year-old Vinicius is the most fouled player in Europe’s top seven leagues by a big margin, followed by his countryman Neymar at PSG with 59 fouls.

"The only thing Vinicius wants to do is to play football," Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti told a news conference on Sunday.


Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani is quickly becoming a fan favourite with the France international enjoying a meteoric rise in the past few months.

A World Cup finalist, the 24-year-old scored his first Bundesliga double against Hertha Berlin on Saturday to take his season tally to nine league goals.

He also has 10 assists in the Bundesliga for Eintracht, who face Napoli in their Champions League Round of 16 first leg on Feb. 21.


AC Milan were on a winless streak of six games in all competitions when they started the derby clash against rivals Inter on Sunday in an unusual 3-5-2 formation.

"We wanted to have a more compact defensive attitude," coach Stefano Pioli said after they lost 1-0 at a sold-out San Siro.

The switch did not work out as Inter dominated the first half with a huge 75% possession, allowing Milan zero attempts on goal.

Pioli returned to a 4-2-3-1 system after the break, replacing midfielder Junior Messias with Brahim Diaz at halftime, which helped them create chances but did not change the scoreline.


Scott Parker's arrival as coach at Club Brugge is yet to provide the turn around the Belgian champions have been looking for.

Yet a goalless draw away at Antwerp on Sunday must be seen as a positive even if they are far runaway leaders Racing Genk.

Parker was appointed coach on Dec. 31 and has taken charge of six games, with one win, four draws and a defeat in his debut encounter.

Brugge have a Champions League clash with Benfica coming up this month and will be looking for an improvement in their form to give them a chance of advancing to the last eight.

Reporting by Julien Pretot, Karolos Grohmann and Mark Gleeson; Editing by Toby Davis

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