PSG vs Angers – 2-0 Win. Lionel Messi assisted in the first goal’s setup and scored the second as PSG defeated Angers to extend their lead atop Ligue 1 to six points. Lionel Messi appeared to be offside at first. The No. 10 of Paris Saint-Germain sprinted in the direction of the goal, took Nordi Mukiele’s pass with ease, and slid the ball into the far bottom corner of the Angers goal.
Before the Argentine could celebrate, though, the assistant raised his flag. However, VAR overruled the decision, and Messi was given a goal for his club football comeback following his heroics at Qatar 2022. PSG’s second goal of the game was his calm finish, and it calmed down his teammates during what was, at moments at least, a jittery effort from the Ligue 1 leaders.
In reality, they were never at their best against Angers, who were in 20th place. However, an early goal and a flash of brilliance from their best player sealed an easy 2-0 victory. PSG quickly took the lead, cruising past Angers with remarkable ease after just five minutes. Hugo Ekitike stroked the ball Hugo Ekitike’s way into the far corner after Messi avoided two defenders and fed Mukiele, who ran down the right before sending a teaser to the near post.
For the remainder of the half, Messi was a reliable contributor. The Argentine set up a fantastic opportunity for Sergio Ramos before having one of his shots deflected against the post. However, it was a generally sluggish first-half performance, with the table-toppers settling for a 1-0 lead at the break after struggling to establish an attacking rhythm.
In the second half, Angers performed admirably and produced a couple of chances. The greatest shot came from Abdallah Sima, who blasted over from five yards away. However, Messi’s precise goal transformed the situation just as they seemed to be getting into the game, putting a touch of class to a poor but vital victory.
The Performing Side:
Lionel Messi: Messi doesn’t have to try in some games. He can stroll, think about how the grass feels, and possibly take in the boisterous ambiance of Parc de Princes. Then, something will take place. It can be a quick nod or a drop of the shoulder, but it always serves as a quick reminder of his otherworldly nature. For Messi, this was one of those games. He had the third-fewest touches of any outfield PSG player in the first half, but he gave Sergio Ramos a great opportunity to score and was essential in setting up his team’s opening goal. He was even more silent in the second half, but he finally spoke with a stunning goal.
Hugo Ekitike: Saying that PSG needed to score goals without Kylian Mbappe is a bit oversimplified. Ekitike isn’t a complex player, though. He barely has any effect on how the game progresses. He doesn’t have the strongest passing ability, and he doesn’t engage opponents with much determination. Ekitike is adept at finding the correct spaces to shoot from close range, as he has demonstrated in recent weeks. He started the scoring here with his fourth goal in five games, a useful run of form without some of PSG’s better players.
Nordi Mukiele: In recent weeks, the France international has been abused. At right-back, he was first instructed to take on more defensive duty. After that, he played on the left and kept cutting inside with his stronger right foot. However, in this match, he was back on familiar ground, charging up the touchline in the right wing-back position. Although Mukiele can be a little awkward to watch, his communication with Messi is certainly excellent. And it was evident here as Mukiele collected two assists, setting up PSG’s two goals by feeding Ekitike and Messi. When Achraf Hakimi returns from injury, he’ll probably have to play a more prominent position, but Mukiele is a more than capable backup.
The Losing Side:
Neymar: While Messi, a fellow returnee, had a pleasant return, Neymar’s first outing in two weeks wasn’t quite as solid. The Brazilian was indeed far from his spectacular best, sloppy with the ball in his hands and lacking in a razor’s edge. He appeared to sustain an injury right away because he was seen walking on the field following a tackle that didn’t seem to make much impact. He struggled to connect with Juan Bernat and Ekitike out wide after that, and he never really settled. Getting an extended run-out is always beneficial for a player getting back to full fitness, but it was a terrible performance from one of the best players in the world in a game that PSG did not need Neymar at his best.
RC Lens: Staying in the title chase for Lens was always going to be a tall order. But there was a fleeting ray of hope after they defeated PSG last week, moving them closer to the Ligue 1 summit. But on Wednesday, they made things difficult for themselves by drawing 2-2 with relegation-risked Strasbourg and losing ground in the standings. Additionally, they received no favors from PSG, as the Parisians defeated Angers despite playing poorly. With PSG now leading Lens by six points, even Lens’ tenuous title prospects appear to be evaporating.
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