Messi silenced as PSG draw 10 against Marseille


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Paris (AFP)

The meeting of the biggest rivals in French football has been briefly suspended on more than one occasion as objects were thrown from the stands when PSG players went to take corners.

There was another hiatus in the second half when a young man invaded the pitch and approached Messi before being escorted by a legion of security guards.

It was that kind of night for PSG, who couldn’t get in their stride and were reduced to 10 men when Achraf Hakimi was sent off in the second half following a VAR exam for a challenge from the last man on Cengiz Under just outside the box.

The match was also marked by two goals disallowed in the first half for tight offside decisions by VAR, one against Marseille defender Luan Peres and the other against Arkadiusz Milik. .

This is a perfectly acceptable result for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who have lost only one of their first 11 Ligue 1 matches and are seven points ahead of second-placed Lens.

“I think we played really well, but we just couldn’t score the goal,” Pochettino told broadcaster Amazon Prime.

“The team showed great character, and of course identity and style.”

However, the performance of PSG’s offensive superstars will be reviewed again.

Pochettino selected Messi, Neymar and Angel Di Maria in a line of three behind Kylian Mbappe, but that quartet were kept silent for most of the game by a hard-working Marseille side.

“I thought we deserved the three points today because we were better than them,” insisted Arsenal midfielder on loan from Marseille Matteo Guendouzi.

Messi faced Jorge Sampaoli, who coached the six-time Ballon d’Or winner at the 2018 World Cup while he was in charge of the Argentine, and who is now on the Marseille bench.

Neymar takes a turn as shields are raised to protect the Brazilian from objects raining from the stands CHRISTOPHE SIMON AFP

The former Barcelona player scored twice for the Qatari club in their 3-2 midweek victory over RB Leipzig in the Champions League, but here he has rarely sought to find the net.

A point-blank header that was knocked down by local goalkeeper Pau Lopez in the first half came closest to Messi.

His three goals for PSG came in the Champions League, while he has yet to score in four Ligue 1 matches.

Hakimi expelled

The visitors, deprived of any travel support due to concerns about a possible disorder in the crowd, believed they had passed in the 14th minute.

Neymar’s ball through the goal in search of Mbappe was turned into its own net by Peres, but the goal was disallowed for an offside against the world’s most expensive player.

Milik then had a goal at the other end ruled out in the middle of the first half.

The Polish striker controlled a low ball and shot but the goal fell through as Pol Lirola was just offside before crossing.

PSG lost Marco Verratti to injury just before half-time and had Hakimi sent off in the 57th minute for pushing Under, a yellow card turned red after another VAR exam.

A youngster invaded the pitch in Marseille's draw with PSG and approached Lionel Messi before being escorted
A youngster invaded the pitch in Marseille’s draw with PSG and approached Lionel Messi before being escorted NICOLAS TUCAT AFP

Di Maria was sacrificed to allow Pochettino to send another defender and Marseille had chances with Valentin Rongier and substitute Konrad de la Fuente both missing at close range.

Mbappe was turned down by a brilliant challenge from William Saliba at the other end, and Marseille are fourth with one game less.

Earlier, Lens beat Metz 4-1 to stay second with Wesley Said scoring twice, while Nice are third after coming back from two goals to beat Lyon 3-2.

Karl Toko-Ekambi and Houssem Aouar scored for Lyon, but Youcef Atal picked up one for Nice with nine minutes remaining before Lyon sent off Tino Kadewere.

Andy Delort equalized with a penalty in the 89th minute and 20-year-old forward Evann Guessand won it in stoppage time for the home side.

There were also victories for Monaco, Rennes and Troyes.

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