Lionel Messi scored his first goal in Ligue 1 as Paris Saint-Germain secured a 3-1 victory over Nantes on Saturday.
Paris Saint-Germain maintained their outstanding start to the Ligue 1 campaign as they secured a 3-1 victory over FC Nantes on Saturday. The three points helped them retain their healthy advantage at the top while further extending their winning streak at Parc des Princes.
It was a dominant performance from Les Parisiens, with Mauricio Pochettino surprisingly deploying a full-strength side without caring much for the upcoming Champions League affair against Manchester City. The move paid off as PSG were completely dominant, creating chances and making life difficult for the Nantes defenders.
In fact, it took PSG only two minutes to find a breakthrough through Kylian Mbappe. Although after that, it was getting difficult for them to find another goal, with Alban Lafont producing a memorable display in between the sticks. His performance in goal allowed Nantes to remain in the contest as they pushed forward more frequently in the second half, especially after Keylor Navas’ dismissal around the hour mark.
Nantes found their deserved equaliser in the 76th minute through Randal Kolo Muani. But they were unfortunate enough to concede an own goal through Dennis Appiah in the 81st minute, moments before Lionel Messi eventually put the game to bed with a late goal. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will rank the PSG players in their 3-1 win over Nantes this weekend.
Keylor Navas: 5/10
Keylor Navas had a quiet first half, but he had to remain alert after the second half. He did well for the most part, but a horrid moment saw him fouling Ludovic Blas outside the penalty area, leading to a straight red card. This performance could breed trouble for Navas, especially with Gianluigi Donnarumma pushing to become PSG’s first-choice ‘keeper in all competitions.
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Achraf Hakimi: 7.5/10
Achraf Hakimi enjoyed a good game on the right hand side for PSG. He was solid defensively, even creating the turnover that led to the third goal for his team. His offensive support was top-notch as usual, with the Moroccan international expertly providing width with his marauding runs forward.
Thilo Kehrer: 6/10
After performing well for Germany under Hansi Flick, Thilo Kehrer was given the task to spearhead the PSG defence this weekend. Unfortunately for Pochettino, the former Schalke prodigy failed to live up to the expectations, often lacking reliable defensive support alongside him.
Abdou Diallo: 5.5/10
Abdou Diallo had a disappointing game at the heart of the PSG backline. He looked clumsy whenever Nantes pushed forward, especially in the second half. The former Borussia Dortmund starlet notably lost the header to Kolo Muani inside the penalty area, leading to Nantes’ equaliser.
Juan Bernat: 6.5/10
Given a rare starting opportunity by Pochettino, Juan Bernat looked solid at left-back. He was resilient and did his defensive chores well while also offering creative support going forward, establishing himself as a useful passing option upfront.
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Idrissa Gueye: 7/10
Idrissa Gueye offered balance and security in possession for the PSG team in the middle of the park. His passing was a key asset for Les Parisiens in the second line of press. The former Everton man even created a few turnovers in the middle of the park.
Leandro Paredes: 7/10
Leandro Paredes had a good game as well, offering support to his partnering midfielders to help PSG dominate the proceedings. The Argentine offered the physical presence and aggression in midfield. It was also his long-range attempt that deflected off Kylian Mbappe to beat Lafont in goal.
Marco Verratti: 7/10
Marco Verratti made his return to the starting eleven in style, producing an effortless display in the middle of the park. The Italian international often served as the catalyst for most of the PSG attacks, while the midfielder also made an impression with his aggression and effectiveness in duels.
Lionel Messi: 8/10
Lionel Messi put an end to his Ligue 1 goal drought by finally finding the back of the net late in the game. Aside from the goal, the Argentine icon was involved in almost every PSG attack, including the second goal, where his attempted pass out wide deflected off Appiah to deceive Lafont in goal.
17 – Lionel Messi has become the 17th player from 🇦🇷 to find the net with Paris in Ligue 1, ending a drought of 19 shots without scoring in the top-flight. Albiceleste. #PSGFCNA pic.twitter.com/5w0SQf9Cjk
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) November 20, 2021
Messi finding his first goal in Ligue 1 could be a major boost for PSG, and they will be hoping that the forward maintain his form in the upcoming game against Manchester City.
Kylian Mbappe: 7.5/10
Kylian Mbappe was lucky to get away with the early goal. But apart from the goal, the Frenchman was a menace for the Nantes defence due to his pace and trickery, coupled with a seemingly telepathic understanding with Messi and Neymar. It made life difficult for the opposition defenders, as they were unable to keep hold of the attacker.
Neymar looked much more energetic right from the beginning. He crafted some early goalscoring chances, thanks to a few mazy runs out wide. His influence in the game did dissipate as the game progressed, with PSG ending up mainly relying on the services of Mbappe and Messi.
Sergio Rico: 7/10
Sergio Rico produced a memorable display in goal after coming on for Navas during the hour mark. He made at least two great saves to keep his team in the contest, although one of his saves rebounded straight to Kolo Muani for Nantes’ equaliser.
Gini Wijnaldum: N/A
A late replacement for Verratti. Didn’t play enough to warrant a rating.
Danilo Pereira: N/A
A late replacement for Paredes. Didn’t play enough to warrant a rating.