Argentina’s superstar Lionel Messi was on the scoresheet for Paris Saint Germain on Wednesday night in their 2-0 victory over Angers in a Ligue 1 game.
The victory came three and half weeks after Argentina’s historic World Cup triumph in Qatar on 18th December 2022.
The win sees PSG go six points clear at the top of the French table.
Messi had been rested for PSG’s first three matches following the long break in the season caused by the World Cup but he returned to training in Paris a week ago and was back in the starting line-up for this match against Ligue 1′s bottom side.
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Neymar also started, having missed his team’s last two matches, but Kylian Mbappe was rested for a second straight game.
That meant young striker Hugo Ekitike again started in the home attack at the Parc des Princes and he opened the scoring in the fifth minute from a Nordi Mukiele cross at the end of a move in which Messi also featured.
PSG was not in their sparkling best but Messi swept in his 13th club goal of the season to make it 2-0 with 17 minutes left.
Christophe Galtier’s team extended their lead at the top of the table as second-placed Lens was held to a 2-2 draw away at Strasbourg.
PSG are billed to play against the two selected Saudi Arabian sides including Al Nassr, the new club of Cristiano Ronaldo who scored his first goal for the club in a league game and scored on Wednesday.
The other Saudi club to produce some of the players to face PSG is Al Hilal.
Thibaut Courtois was the star for Real Madrid and duly awarded the Man of the Match as the Los Blancos beat Valencia 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in Riyadh on Wednesday night to reach the Spanish Super Cup final.
The reigning Super Cup champions were below their best again amid a difficult start to 2023, but Courtois excelled, making crucial saves and then decisively denying Jose Gaya’s weak shot in the shootout after extra time.
Madrid will go on to play either Barcelona or Real Betis, who play Thursday, in Sunday’s final.
La Liga champions Madrid, facing the runners-up, had chances to win the game within 90 minutes but needed Courtois to make a stunning reflex save from Fran Perez in extra time.
Karim Benzema had sent Madrid ahead from the penalty spot but Gennaro Gattuso’s side levelled at the start of the second half through Samuel Lino.
The Spanish Super Cup was first held in Saudi Arabia in 2020 in the current “final four” format — and will remain in the country until at least 2029, despite criticism over the hosts’ human rights record.