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Football

Messi opens Ligue 1 account as PSG thumps Nantes

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Nantes for PSG on Saturday, 20 November 2021. | PHOTO: Getty Images |

Lionel Messi’s first Ligue 1 goal helped PSG beat Nantes 3-1 at the Parc des Princes despite goalkeeper Keylor Navas getting sent off in the second half.

PSG scored in just the second minute as Leandro Paredes’ well-hit effort from range took a wicked deflection off Kylian Mbappe in the box and wrong-footed Alban Lafont.

PSG shot-stopper Keylor Navas was shown a straight red card in the 65th minute for jumping into Ludovic Blas outside the box as the Nantes midfielder bore down on goal, with Sergio Rico coming on between the sticks and failing to handle Randal Kolo Muani’s header, allowing the forward to backheel an effort at goal that he could not keep from crossing the line.

However, Dennis Appiah deflected Messi’s through ball over the goalkeeper and in before the Argentine grabbed his first league goal for PSG with a staggering long-range strike.

PSG 3-1 Nantes

PSG forward Lionel Messi celebrates after finding the net against Nantes for his first-ever Ligue 1 goal at Parc des Princes on Saturday, 20 November 2021. | PHOTO: Getty Images |

PSG took the lead inside the first two minutes, with midfielder Paredes taking an effort on from long range that struck Mbappe in the box and deflected past a stranded Lafont in the Nantes goal.

Nantes’ hopes of snatching an unlikely result were boosted when Navas raced off his line to deal with a ball in behind in the second half, but misjudged the bounce and was sent off after catching Blas with a trailing leg.

Substitute goalkeeper Rico made a mess of saving Kolo Muani’s powerful headed effort and could only get to the follow-up after it had crossed the line in the 76th minute, but Nantes full-back Appiah’s comedy own goal five minutes later put PSG back in front.

PSG 3-1 Nantes

PSG players celebrate after Messi scored against Nantes at Parc des Princes on Saturday, 20 November 2021 in a Ligue 1 clash. | PHOTO: Getty Images |

Messi then stole the headlines in the 87th minute, cutting onto his left foot outside the box and unleashing a superb strike into the bottom-left corner to seal the points for PSG.

Early Ligue 1 leaders PSG started the match week 10 points clear at the top of the table and their battling victory sees them extend that advantage to 13, albeit having played a game extra.

Navas’ red card could perhaps open the door for Gianluigi Donnarumma to stake his claim as the club’s number one goalkeeper, with the Italian having voiced his frustration at not playing more regularly.

Messi’s goal is his first in Ligue 1 since joining PSG in the summer, having made five appearances in the competition for PSG without scoring prior to this game, taking 19 shots that did not go in.

The late strike means the 34-year-old also becomes the 17th Argentine to score for PSG in Ligue 1.

Mbappe’s deflected goal to open the scoring came after just one minute and 41 seconds, PSG’s fastest goal in Ligue 1 since May 14, 2017 (one minute and 21 seconds against Saint-Etienne).

It is also the earliest Mbappe has ever found the net in a game in his professional career.

PSG travels to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday, 24 November, while Nantes’ next action is a Ligue 1 trip to Lille next Saturday.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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