Lionel Messi scores stunner as PSG clinch Ligue 1 title but fan celebrations muted

Verratti baffled by response from supporters after Paris Saint-Germain win eighth title in 10 years

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Paris Saint-Germain reclaimed the Ligue 1 title after a 1-1 draw against 10-man Lens on Saturday but celebrations were muted as frustrated fans headed for the Parc des Princes exit immediately after Saturday's final whistle.

Lionel Messi's superb goal was cancelled out by Corentin Jean as PSG moved on to 78 points, 16 ahead of second-placed Marseille who will play their game in hand at Stade de Reims on Sunday.

PSG have now won eight of the last 10 Ligue 1 titles, having only been denied by Monaco in 2017 and Lille last year. It equals the record set by St Etienne, who won 10 top flight titles between 1957 and 1981.

Sealing the Ligue 1 title, however, was not a cause for celebration for many fans who are still frustrated by the club's exit in the last-16 from the Champions League.

PSG were knocked out after squandering a 2-0 aggregate lead in 15 minutes against Real Madrid.

On Saturday, the stadium was empty 10 minutes after the game ended and the players skipped the traditional lap of honour. Some ultra fans had already left the Parc des Princes 15 minutes before the final whistle.

"It's something I don't understand. In football, you win, you lose. We try with all our heart," said PSG midfielder Marco Verratti, the only player to have won eight top flight French titles.

Fans from the Boulogne and Auteuil stands did not show their support once again even though their team had won their four previous games, scoring 16 goals during that run.

PSG were under pressure early on but came to life after 20 minutes when an exchange between Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar almost led to a goal as the Brazilian's low shot from inside the box went just wide.

Achraf Hakimi was denied by Jean-Louis Leca and Mbappe missed two clear chances as the hosts upped the pace, but Lens also threatened through Seko Fofana and Jonathan Clauss.

PSG were then booed by the crowd at halftime.

Lens were reduced to 10 players when Kevin Danso picked up a second yellow card for a rough tackle on Neymar in the 57th minute. On the resulting free kick, Leca had to fully stretch to parry away Messi's attempt.

The Argentine forward finally earned PSG the lead after curling a 25-metre shot into the top corner in the 68th minute after being set up by Neymar.

Part of the crowd chanted Messi's name but ultras from the Auteuil stands left the stadium seven minutes later and missed Lens' equaliser when Jean latched onto a cross by Deiver Machado at the far post to give the visitors a deserved point.

Lens, who had won their three previous games and are still hoping to finish in the top three, are left in seventh place on 54 points, five behind Monaco who beat St Etienne 4-1 away earlier on Saturday.

There were livelier scenes outside the stadium as thousands of fans gathered, setting off flares and waving banners.

Updated: April 24, 2022, 9:15 AM
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