The moment Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) fans had been waiting for finally arrived on Sunday as Lionel Messi made his much-anticipated debut for the club against Stade De Reims in Ligue 1. It wasn’t Messi, however, who starred in PSG’s 2-0 win as wantaway forward Kylian Mbappe stole the show with his two-goal masterpiece.
Mbappe double seals win for PSG
Mbappe showed the world why Real Madrid is willing to shell out a reported $200 million this transfer window for his services, scoring once in each half to give PSG its fourth consecutive league win. He opened the scoring with a fabulous header in the 16th minute, connecting with Angel Di Maria’s looping cross to hand PSG a 1-0 lead.
Reims battled back, though, even celebrating what they thought was an equalizer five minutes into the second half, but Marshall Munetsi’s effort was ruled out for offside. With PSG’s lead still not safe at that point, manager Mauricio Pochettino decided to utilize his new star weapon, instructing Messi to warm up after 57 minutes.
Mbappe made sure, however, that Messi won’t steal the headlines completely, as he completed his brace of the night before the Argentina captain’s grand entrance. PSG unleashed a lethal counterattack in the 63rd minute, with Mbappe applying the finishing touches by diverting Achraf Hakimi’s cross into the back of the net from six yards out.
Messi makes first appearance as an ex-Barcelona player
That set the stage for Messi‘s introduction, who stepped on the field for the first time as a Ligue 1 player in the 66th minute. However, PSG fans were denied a glimpse of their vaunted attacking trio as it was Neymar who gave way for Messi in this contest.
They still got to witness Mbappe and Messi together, though, and the two superstars almost produced a stunning goal in the 77th minute. After collecting the ball mid-way inside the Reims half, Messi went on one of his trademark runs, tormenting the opposing defense with his patented short-stepped skitter.
Messi passed the ball to Mbappe, who was close to a hat-trick at that stage, just when he was about to be triple-teamed. The French star decided to become a facilitator instead, passing the ball back to Messi, but Reims eventually thwarted his effort.
Pochettino paid tribute to Messi after the game, saying that “Every time he touched the ball, he spread calm throughout the team.” Pochettino also said that Messi radiated optimism and energy that everyone can feel and that it was important that he won on his debut.
He also praised Mbappe for his match-winning performance, saying that he is a gift and very happy to have him. We’ll find out soon enough if PSG will still have him for the rest of the season.
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