Moment of the Weekend: Balogun's lethal touch denies Messi and co.

Reims' Folarin Balogun celebrates his stoppage-time equalizer against PSG. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

Non-stop action. Great goals. Controversies galore. European football rarely lacks for talking points after any given weekend of football; ESPN India gives you one standout moment from all the action across Europe's top 5 leagues (league action only).

This weekend, we pick Folarin Balogun's equalizer for Reims against PSG.

It was a finish worthy of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe or even Lionel Messi. Heck, Neymar had done so 45 minutes earlier, rounding off the goalkeeper and then firing into an empty net.

Yet, when Folarin Balogun found himself in the 96th minute facing Gianluigi Donnarumma bearing down on him, you'd have forgiven him for missing his chance. Sergio Ramos and Marquinhos were chasing him down, and he'd had the fewest touches of any outfield player in the whole game.

Like the best marksmen however, the 21-year-old Arsenal loanee kept his composure - a brief look up to outfox Donnarumma, took the ball past him and fired into the net - earning his unfancied Reims side a point with the last kick of the game.

His 30-year-old coach Will Still went wild on the sidelines, understandably so - the Reims' boss kept his 13-game unbeaten run going after replacing Oscar Garcia in October, a run which ironically enough, began against PSG with a 0-0 draw.

You see, Reims don't create and score a whole lot, this was their 22nd goal in the league (from 20 games), an absurd 50% of which have been scored by Balogun (11) - making him the highest-scoring U-21 player in Europe's Top 5 leagues, ahead of the likes of Jamal Musiala, Khvicha Kvaratshkelia and Arsenal teammates Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.

So, when Donnarumma launched it long and high from a goal-kick in the sixth minute of injury time with PSG leading 1-0, there barely seemed to be any danger. Azor Matusiwa tracked the ball's trajectory and leapt high to head the ball back into midfield, only to see it float towards Danilo. The PSG midfielder, sent on after Marco Verratti saw his 14-minute cameo as a substitute end in a red card, picked out a teammate with his header.

Except it was to 16-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery, already creating headlines as the youngest player to play for PSG. And then, the mistake. An attempted header back towards teammate Renato Sanchez had too much on it, and Kamory Doumbai pounced. And that's when a strolling Balogun came alive.

He had dropped back into the centre-circle, with Marquinhos following him, but Ramos was a bit slow to step up. Balogun sensed the chance and reacted fastest, making a move towards the gap between the central defenders and gesturing exactly where he wanted the ball.

Doumbai acquiesced, pinging a ball through into space, but it had a fair bit on it. Not a problem for Balogun, who raced past PSG's central defenders.

The first touch? Steadying himself, Balogun paid his markers no heed - his battle was only with Donnarumma. The eyes, following Donnarumma's every move, Balogun paused, allowing the PSG keeper to close in on him... before the deception.

A left leg planted, hips faking as though making a move to his left, resulting in Donnarumma diving in, only for Balogun to go right with his touch at the last second. In real-time, the simplest of shimmies, but it left Donnarumma grabbing nought but air as he desperately lunged after a Balogun who had left him in the dust.

There was still a finish to be applied - with Balogun's momentum taking him away from the goal. Three steps to get to the ball, plant his left leg, and fight inertia to hammer it with his right, twisting his body and collapsing. Marquinhos had nearly caught up, but the ball whizzed past his face into the net - Balogun had his goal, the adrenaline affording him only a half-second on the floor as he raced off to the corner flag to celebrate.

A goal against one of Europe's best - a far cry from the nightmare of Brentford at the start of the 2021-22 season - his Premier League debut for Arsenal that saw him offer little and be substituted after 59 minutes. Now, he's only a goal behind Neymar and two behind Mbappe in the Ligue 1 scoring charts.

Not a surprise then, that Mbappe exchanged shirts with him after the final whistle blew. Game recognizes game, and all that.

Over 96 minutes, Balogun had 27 touches of the ball in total, but with his final three, he eclipsed far greater names on the night. It won't require far too many touches then, for Balogun to be the greater name on the night.