It took Messi 412 minutes to score his first goal for Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1. Although he had already netted three times in the Champions League, Messi was yet to score in the French top flight, attracting criticism from a part of the media and fans.

Lionel Messi (PSG - Nantes 3-1)
Lionel Messi scored his first goal in the French top flight for PSG, as the French giants beat 3-1 at home. (Image: Twitter/instantfoot)

PSG enjoyed a splendid first half against Nantes at Parc des Princes, with Mbappe opening the scoring after just two minutes. PSG missed chance after chance, as they went to the locker room with a one-goal advantage. After the break, the reality turned upside down for the French powerhouse. Nantes missed clear opportunities, while their keeper, Alban Lafont was virtually unbothered. When PSG went down to 10 men in the 65th minute following Navas’ red card, things got even more complicated for the hosts.

In the 76th minute, Kolo Muani scored a beautiful goal for Nantes to make it 1-1. His first effort on goal was blocked, but the ball bounced back and Kolo Muani sent it spectacularly over the line with his back heel. Paris reacted fast, trying to conquer back its lost territory inside the Nantes half of the pitch.

But it was not a brilliant piece of play from one of PSG’s jewels upfront that unlocked the Nantes defense. A terrible deflection from Appiah following a Messi pass towards the opposite box beat Lafont in the 81st minute to make it 2-1 for Paris, before Messi stole the show. First, he tried scoring from a free-kick, then stars finally aligned for a beautiful mise-en-scène with Messi’s signature all over it. The Argentine advanced to the edge of the opposite box before sending an unstoppable curled shot with his left foot to beat Lafont and make it 3-1 to PSG in the 87th minute. PSG are now 13 points clear of second-placed Lens after 14 games.

Messi: ‘I’m very happy with this goal’

Messi spoke to Amazon Prime on the pitch minutes after the game finished. He told reporters of his happiness to score his first league goal at PSG and hailed Lafont for his firm reactions in the first half.

“There were a lot of chances, but Lafont had good reflexes and kept the ball out. We weren’t afraid after the goal which made it 1-1. I am very happy to have scored this first goal in Ligue 1, even though I had already netted for PSG in the Champions League,” Messi commented.

PSG will now travel to Manchester for the return leg against City in the Champions League group stage. In Paris, PSG won 2-0, with one goal coming from Messi. A draw could seal qualification for both teams to the knock-out round. City tops the group with nine points in four games, with PSG one point behind. Club Brugge is third on four points and will host RB Leipzig on Wednesday.

City are firm favorites to win vs PSG midweek, at -154. A draw is at +300, with a PSG triumph at +375.