Lionel Messi Hauled by Pochettino 76 Minutes into His Home Debut for PSG
Unceremoniously Lionel Messi was hauled off by Pochettino on his Parc des Princes debut for PSG before an injury-time Mauro Icardi strike earned the home side a 2-1 win over Lyon.
Messi had a limited impact in his third appearance for PSG, hitting the woodwork but failing to score for the third match in a row. In his home debut for the French giants, Messi, saw himself substituted for Achraf Hakimi in the 76th minute with the score at 1-1.
As he came off, the summer arrival from Barcelona stared sharply at PSG manager Pochettino and appeared to snub a handshake from his fellow Argentine.
Messi also made a gesture with his hands apart as if to say he didn’t understand. In response, Pochettino attempted an explanation afterwards.
He said, “everyone knows we have great players in the squad, we have 35 players. But we must make decisions for the good of the team. Sometimes they lead to a positive result and sometimes not.”
“These are decisions we need to take. Sometimes it pleases people, or it doesn’t. I asked him how he was, and he said he was fine.”
Regardless, former Tottenham boss was vindicated when Icardi, who came on in the 82nd-minute for Angel di Maria, headed home from Kylian Mbappe’s cross four minutes into stoppage time to win it for the hosts.
Neymar had leveled with a penalty following Lucas Paqueta’s second-half opener as leaders PSG maintained their perfect record with 18 points.
PSG fell behind in the 53rd minute when Brazil midfielder Paqueta finished neatly, after forward Karl Toko Ekambi picked him out with a low cross to the front post.
Neymar equalized from the penalty spot in the 66th after he was fouled by 18-year-old right-back Malo Gusto.
Messi was the game’s best player in the first half and almost scored in the 32nd minute. He found Neymar down the left and sprinted to meet his clever reverse pass, but goalkeeper Anthony Lopes read Messi’s low shot well and denied him with his legs.
Four minutes later, Lopes was stuck to the spot as Messi hit the crossbar with a free-kick from outside the box.