Messi turns on the style as PSG begin Ligue 1 title defence

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Lionel Messi scored twice in the second half, in-cluding with a stunning overhead kick, as Paris Saint-Germain began their defence of the Ligue 1 title with a 5-0 demolition of Clermont on Saturday.

Neymar was also in outstanding form for a PSG side who did not miss the injured Kylian Mbappe, with the Brazilian opening the scoring in Clermont before setting up Achraf Hakimi and Marquinhos for further goals before half-time.

Messi then exchanged passes with Neymar be-fore sidefooting in the visitors’ fourth goal with 10 minutes left.

Yet Messi saved the best for last, darting into the box four minutes from the end to control a Leandro Paredes pass on his chest with his back to goal, before converting with an acrobatic overhead kick.

That goal had the crowd at Clermont’s Stade Gabriel-Montpied singing the name of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, who endured a difficult first season in Paris.

PSG’s victory in new coach Christophe Galtier’s first league game in charge was achieved despite Mbappe missing the trip due to an adductor injury.

Mbappe also missed last week’s 4-0 defeat of Nantes in the season-opening Champions Trophy due to suspension.

Messi had opened the scoring in that game, while Neymar netted a brace. The duo therefore already have six goals between them this season, with PSG looking in ominous form.

“There is no denying we have lots of talent but what I retain is the collective desire to win the ball back very early, to play with intensity, to never let up,” Galtier, who replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino, told broadcaster Canal Plus.

“The squad have been very receptive since I ar-rived. They like to work hard together, have fun together. But the season is long. This was just the first game.”—AFP

 

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