Relief as Messi finally breaks scoring duck for Paris Saint-Germain
Relief as Argentinian finally breaks scoring duck for PSG in 2-0 win over Man City
Lionel Messi said he was "getting desperate to score my first goal" after bagging Paris Saint-Germain's second in a 2-0 Champions League Group A win over Manchester City yesterday morning (Singapore time).
It also brought a sense of relief to the French club after the Argentinian's stuttering start to the season and Kylian Mbappe's comments about Neymar not passing to him last week.
Messi had been unconvincing in his first three appearances since joining on a two-year contract after leaving Barcelona, and appeared to be frustrated with coach Mauricio Pochettino after he was substituted as PSG chased a winner in a 2-1 triumph over Lyon in his first Ligue 1 start.
Against City, Idrissa Gueye opened the scoring after eight minutes and Messi made it 2-0 16 minutes from time. After a largely quiet 74 minutes, Messi played a neat one-two with Kylian Mbappe before finding the top corner of Ederson's net from just outside the box.
The 34-year-old told Canal+: "It's true that I was getting desperate to score my first goal. I hadn't played much recently and I had only played once here at home but I am settling into the team little by little."
The goal sent the Parc des Princes crowd into raptures and prompted a rare celebration from coach Pochettino.
He said: "I've spent 20 years watching him score goals from the other side of the opposite pavement and it's the first time he scores for a team I manage, so I had to celebrate."
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said Messi's reaction to scoring were indicative, telling BT Sport: "Messi was on the periphery of the game, he is at a new club and feeling his way in.
"Even superstars have to do that. You see the celebrations after the goal, that is relief. He is not usually so animated."
He also criticised City's defending, saying: "If you're (Ruben) Dias, you're screaming at (Aymeric) Laporte, 'Get out there now and close him down quicker'. Because there's enough white shirts in the box to deal with that situation.
"The moment he stands and is in between, the indecision is a domino effect and leaves everyone else to pick up the pieces."
City manager Pep Guardiola said "it's impossible to control Leo for 90 minutes" but added: "We did a really good game, but we should have scored goals and we didn't do it. That's why we lost."
City dominated possession and had 18 shots to PSG's six, with their best chance falling to Bernardo Silva, who inexplicably hit the bar from two metres out, leading ex-City defender Danny Mills to call it "one of the misses of the decade".
Kevin de Bruyne caught Gueye with a nasty studs-up challenge but escaped with a yellow having made slight contact with the ball before impact.
- Merci Beaucoup - French for 'Thank you very much' .