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SPORTS

Messi scores maiden Ligue 1 goal as 10-man PSG stretch lead

FOOTBALL By Reuters | November 20th 2021 | 2 min read
November 20, 2021 Paris St Germain's Lionel Messi in action REUTERS

Lionel Messi scored his first Ligue 1 goal as Paris St Germain opened a 13-point lead in Ligue 1 despite playing almost half an hour with 10 men in a 3-1 home win against Nantes on Saturday.

Messi found the back of the net with a curled left-footed effort from outside the box three minutes from time, adding to Dennis Appiah's own goal after Randal Kolo Muani had cancelled out Kylian Mbappe's first-half opener.

The result left PSG with 37 points from 14 games ahead of a Champions League trip to Manchester City on Wednesday, while Nantes are 11th on 18 points.

Messi has scored three goals in the Champions League since joining from Barcelona during the close season but the Argentine forward had not found the back of the net in his five previous appearances in Ligue 1.

PSG started brilliantly as Mbappe deflected Leandro Paredes' long-range strike to put the hosts ahead after just two minutes.

The attacking trio coordinated nicely, with Mbappe shifting to the right wing and leaving Messi more on the inside. The Argentine came close in the 17th minute after being set up by Neymar.

Mbappe tormented the Nantes defence with his technique and brutal accelerations as he looked to find Messi.

Nantes keeper Alban Lafont kept his team afloat with several saves as the visitors struggled to get into PSG's half in a one-sided opening half.

Nantes put some pressure on after the break, but their attempts were too weak for Navas, who made his first proper save in the 61st minute to block Ludovic Blas' strike.

But the keeper was sent off four minutes later for charging into Blas outside his area. With Gianluigi Donnarumma out with a bout of gastro-enteritis, Sergio Rico stepped in and Neymar was sent back to the bench.

Rico made a brilliant save in a packed goalmouth and parried Kolo Muani's header in the 76th, but the striker followed up and netted with a back heel to put the visitors level.

But Appiah deflected a Messi cross into his own net in the 81st minute, before Messi sent the Parc des Princes crowd into raptures with his trademark curled strike.

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