Ligue 1: Lionel Messi gets the monkey off his back, scores first league goal for PSG
- Lionel Messi scored his first Ligue 1 goal for the Parisian side
- Paris Saint-Germain sealed a 3-1 victory over FC Nantes
- Messi had failed to find the net in five previous Ligue 1 appearances
Following his transfer to PSG, Messi was expected to set the footballing world alight, teaming up with Neymar Jr. and Kylian Mbappe. However, the Argentine magician had largely been absent during the club's league campaign.
Although Kylian Mbappe scored with the first two minutes handing PSG the perfect start, matters deteriorated for Mauricio Pochettino's side when goalkeeper Keylor Navas received a red card for a clumsy foul outside the penalty box on Ludovic Blas, who was running alone toward the goal, in the 65th minute.
Enjoying the man advantage, Nantes pushed hard for an equalizer and was finally rewarded for its efforts when Randal Kolo Muani beat the offside trap to level the scoring in the 76th. The forward first saw his header denied by Navas' replacement Sergio Rico, but followed up his effort with a clever backheel touch that crossed the goal line.
However, PSG luckily regained the lead when Nantes defender Nantes Dennis Appiah lobbed his own goalkeeper as he tried to intercept a low pass from Messi, instead deflecting the ball into the back of the net.
Soon after, Messi, in his trademark fashion, sealed PSG's win in the 87th minute from Mbappe's pass at the end of a counterattack. After receiving the ball, the Argentina star quickly advanced near the edge of the box, dribbled past a defender and curled one of his signature left-footed shots past Nantes goalkeeper Alban Lafont.
Messi, who joined from Barcelona this summer, had already scored three Champions League goals for his new team but had failed to find the net in five previous Ligue 1 appearances.
The win extended PSG’s lead over second-place Lens to 13 points as the nine-time champions maintained their unbeaten record at home this season. Lens will be in action on Sunday at Brest.
Ahead of a trip to Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday, the goal will provide a huge morale boost to Messi.
With inputs in the Associated Press