Messi to net first PSG league goal at Rennes?

Publish on 01/10/2021 at 09:58 - D. CROSSAN


Lionel Messi will attempt to follow up his maiden Paris Saint-Germain strike against Manchester City by netting again on Sunday lunchtime as the capital club bid to make it nine wins from nine at the start of the Ligue 1 Uber Eats season.



Messi netted a wonderful goal in the 2-0 UEFA Champions Legaue win at home to City on Tuesday evening and the Argentinian great will not want to wait long to open his French league account. Messi's goal against City was set up by Kylian Mbappé and there were promising signs that the 'MNM' completed by Neymar are developing their understanding.

Mbappé, without a Ligue 1 goal in his last 13 shots, is PSG's joint-top scorer in all competitions this season with four goals, alongside midfielders Ander Herrera and Idrissa Gueye, the other scorer against City. PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino had pleaded for his team - and Messi - to be given time to integrate their new star and he was delighted with his side's result against the Premier League champions.

Pochettino: "Things to improve"

Pochettino said: "We played well. We suffered as a team when we were forced to be compact in front of our goal. We also knew how to play football when we attacked. Teams are built over time. That's football and you are always trying to build. I have a positive squad. The players deserve to be congratulated for their great collective efforts. There are, of course, things to improve. This team is still coming together and all the players are adapting over time."

PSG's Champions League success also owed plenty to competition debutant Gigi Donnarumma, who pulled off a string of fine saves, and his fellow UEFA EURO 2020 champion Marco Verratti, whose masterclass on his return from an injury sustained on international duty with Italy at the start of the month had even City boss Pep Guardiola gushing.

Guardiola: "I'm in love with Verratti"

Guardiola said: "I'm in love with Verratti. He's an exceptional player. When he's under pressure, he's capable of playing the extra pass. I know his character and his personality. I'm delighted that he's back from injury and you can always count on him to build the play."

Win on Sunday and PSG will edge closer to matching Thomas Tuchel's 2018-2019 vintage who tasted victory in each of their first 14 outings under the German. Standing in their way are a Rennes side that secured a hard-fought 2-1 win at  Vitesse Arnhem in the UEFA Europa Conference League on Thursday evening.

Badé to become a goody?

The result was secured despite Loïc Badé, the big money summer signing from Lens, being sent off 17 minutes from time. Coach Bruno Genesio defended his centre-half, saying: "He wasn't 100% responsible for the red card. He was trying to make up for a small mistake at the start of the move and ended up being sanctioned. Players go through spells such as this. He's a young player and he needs time. He's discovering new things compared to what he knew at Lens in a three-man defence. I know that in the medium to long term that he will perform for us, because he has the qualities to do so."

Probable Teams:

Rennes: Gomis; Traoré, Omari, Aguerd, Meling; Bourigeaud, Martin, Tait, Sulemana; Laborde, Terrier

Paris Saint-Germain: Navas; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe Nuno Mendes; Verratti, Gueye; Di Maria, Messi, Neymar; Mbappé

>> Messi: 'Very happy'