Lionel Messi, Paris Saint-Germain
Match Reports

Messi in focus at Lens

Publish on 02/12/2021 at 21:33 - I. HOLYMAN

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Lionel Messi will hope to improve on his meagre return of just one Ligue 1 Uber Eats goal for Paris Saint-Germain when the 2021 Ballon d'Or winner and the league leaders go to Lens on Saturday (kick-off 9pm CET).

RC LENS vs. PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

 

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Messi, who picked up a record seventh Ballon d'Or on Monday, drew a blank — as did his team — in Wednesday's goalless draw at home to Nice. The summer arrival from Barcelona scored 30 times in La Liga last season, but has just the one strike in the Round 14 victory over Nantes to show for his eight French top-flight appearances to date.

 

The 34-year-old had no fewer than six goal attempts at the Parc des Princes, but only one was on target — the most he has produced in a match without finding the back of the net since 10 April when playing for Barça in the Clasico against Real Madrid. Those were part of the hosts' 22 efforts at goal — five on target — as they racked up their highest tally without scoring since March 2016.

 

It summed up a frustrating night for PSG, who had won their previous 11 competitive home games this campaign.

 

WATCH: Nice hold PSG in Paris

 

 

 

"I think we dominated the game, we were a little bit unlucky. We're disappointed because we created chances but we didn't score," said coach Mauricio Pochettino, whose side are 12 points clear of second-placed Marseille. "It sometimes happens that for 90 minutes you create and you are better than the opponent and if you don't score you can't win games. I'm satisfied with the performance. I think we're all motivated we're trying to improve everyday. We're looking forward and trying to improve every single day. It's very hard, Ligue 1 is very tough and I think you need to work hard as we saw with the result. It's a difficult league for every club."

 

"We knew it would be a tough game," said goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. "We're disappointed because we wanted to win in front of our fans. After every game we try to find positives from the negatives. We're going to try and be more solid and to win all the upcoming games. It won't be easy but we're going to do our best."

 

After coming off the bench against Nice just after the hour mark, Marco Verratti could make his first start since the Nantes game. Rested against Nice, Sergio Ramos will be in contention for a place in the squad, while Keylor Navas could replace Donnarumma in goal.

 

WATCH: Lens are pegged back by Clermont

 

 

 

Second just four matches ago, Lens have slipped down the table following a three-game winless run. After throwing away the lead to draw at home to Angers last weekend, Franck Haise's side did the same thing at Clermont on Wednesday.

 

"When you lead two times and you get pegged back twice, it leaves a bitter taste," said Jonathan Clauss, who found little comfort in registering a seventh assist, equalling Kylian Mbappé's league-leading total. "We did what we're capable of, we try to do as best we can, and perhaps we were lacking a little luck in the last two games, but it's the same for everyone. We'll perhaps have a bit more in other games and we'll score three or four. We have to stay focussed, committed. We're leaving with a point after a difficult game. We didn't win, but we didn't lose either. We're looking forward to Paris."

 

"I don't have any regrets," said Haise, who saw Seko Fofana score his fourth goal of the season. "Clermont played a great game. The two teams deserved a point. It was a lively, dynamic game."

 

Probable line-ups

Lens: Leca; Gradit, Danso, Haidara; Clauss, Doucouré, Fofana (c), Frankowski; Kakuta; Sotoca, Kalimuendo

 

PSG: Navas; Hakimi, Marquinhos (c), Ramos, Bernat; Gueye, Verratti, Dina Ébimbé; Messi, Mbappé, Di Maria

 

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