Soccer

Lionel Messi nets 60th career direct free-kick goal as PSG downs stubborn Nice side

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Kylian Mbappe was the hero once again for Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday as the French champions beat OGC Nice 2-1 at Parc des Princes in Ligue 1 with Lionel Messi also on target. 

The legendary Argentine’s wait for a direct free kick goal with PSG came to an end with a moment of magic came after 28 minutes when he swept home from outside the box after a clumsy foul by visiting captain Dante — his first successful direct set piece goal with Les Parisiens after many close attempts since his arrival. Messi’s career now boasts 60 direct free-kick efforts across club and country appearances and the 35-year-old added to his recent virtuoso showings with the Albiceleste during the recent international period. 

GOAT brilliance aside, PSG found themselves in similar territory to their draw against AS Monaco earlier in the season with Lucien Favre’s men taking their best chance through Gaetan Laborde early in the second half. Neymar did look sharp and motivated after his recent international outings with Brazil and Mbappe was rested from the off to afford summer signing Hugo Ekitike a first start so only came on after an hour of action. 

It was left to the French superstar to unpick a stubborn visiting back line when he turned in a Nordi Mukiele assist seven minutes from full time with Kasper Schmeichel unable to get anything on it. Struggling Nice largely matched their hosts as Christophe Galtier’s men failed to break down the French tactician’s former side with the lack of Marco Verratti’s linking the midfield and attack evident at times. Mbappe’s clinical ability was telling, though, and PSG remain relatively comfortable and two points clear at the Ligue 1 summit. This display and the Monaco tie suggests that there is work to be done in killing matches off and also keeping the better domestic threats out in defense, but it remains so far so good for Galtier’s unbeaten side.



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