Lionel Messi was on target on his Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) return as the French champions defeated relegation threatened Angers 2-0 at the Parc des Princes on Thursday. Messi, who led Argentina to their third World Cup triumph last month, had been rested for PSG’s first three matches following the long break in the season caused by the showpiece event in Qatar. Messi returned to PSG’s starting XI, while Kylian Mbappe, who scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final, was rested.
After Hugo Eketike had put PSG in front in the first-half, Messi rounded off a brilliant team move to make it 2-0 in the 72nd minute.
Messi picked up the ball in his own half, before neately rounding off the move.
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The goal was initially disallowed for offside but a VAR check allowed it to stand.
“Messi has recovered well. He is relaxed and in great shape physically, and with Leo the team looks different,” said coach Christophe Galtier.
Speaking to broadcaster Canal Plus, Galtier, who said he had come down with a fever during the game, added: “We are coming back off the World Cup so it is difficult for the players to find their reference points again.”
“We are all just getting used to playing together again and you could see at times that we lacked some of the connections between the players that we had more often before the World Cup.”
It was a 10th straight league loss for Angers, while Galtier’s PSG team extended their lead at the top of the table as second-placed Lens were held to a 2-2 draw away at Strasbourg.
PSG’s unbeaten record this season had been ended in a 3-1 defeat away at Lens on New Year’s Day, but they bounced back to win 3-1 at third-tier Chateauroux in the French Cup at the weekend without any of their superstar attacking trio.
(With AFP Inputs)
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