Paris Saint-Germain overcame Nantes 3-1 to extend their lead at the top of Ligue 1 on Saturday evening, with Lionel Messi finally getting his first league goal.
Lionel Messi replaced Julian Draxler, as PSG named five changes in Abdou Diallo, Marco Verratti, Idrissa Gueye and Leonardo Paredes from their win over Bordeaux.
The Parisans needed just two minutes to hit the front foot through a smart close-range finish from Kylian Mbappe from a ball into the danger area by Paredes.
Messi was denied his first Ligue 1 goal again 18 minutes in after Alban Lafont produced a one-hand stop to parry the Argentine’s strike from point-blank range following a pass from Neymar Junior.
Another smart save from the opposite number minutes apart came from a low drive through the middle by Mbappe on the back of Messi’s weighted supply.
Messi missed another chance seven minutes inside halftime when he charged onto a reverse pass from Verratti to go level with Lafont for a cool finish, but the goalkeeper parried.
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Nantes introduced a substitution after 43 minutes as Sebastien Corchia went off the field of play and Dennis Appiah coming on in his place.
After a cagey start into the second period, Nantes soon found their own and had Ludovic Blas allowed time ample time to drill in a shot from a smart area but Keylor Navas collected.
PSG ended this match with ten players following the 65th minute as Navas walked the plank for bringing down Blas from a clear scoring opportunity.
This issue saw the Parisans withdraw Neymar for the introduction of second-choice goalkeeper Sergio Rico.
Nantes were back all square on 76 minutes after Randal Kolo Muani showed clear composure to apply a back-heel finish from inside the area.
Their joy lasted just five minutes as Appiah directed a cross-field delivery from Messi while looking to make a clearance into his own net.
Messi finally broke his Ligue 1 drought with three minutes to go after he applied a left-footed curler from Mbappe’s ball into the bottom-corner to see out the encounter.