Lionel Messi on target as PSG beat Kawasaki Frontale in Japan - in pictures

Argentine starts match alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as Ligue 1 champions win 2-1

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Lionel Messi was on target for Paris Saint-Germain as the Ligue 1 champions defeated Kawasaki Frontale 2-1 in the first match of their pre-season tour of Japan on Wednesday.

PSG's attacking trio of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe all started in new PSG manager Christophe Galtier's first game in charge of a full squad in front of 65,000 fans at Tokyo's National Stadium.

Messi opened the scoring with a 32nd-minute shot but a much-changed PSG line-up in the second half could manage only one more goal through substitute Arnaud Kalimuendo.

J-League champions Kawasaki pulled a goal back in the 84th minute when Kazuya Yamamura headed home unmarked.

PSG will play two more J-League sides on the tour, taking on Urawa Reds in Saitama on Saturday and Gamba Osaka in Osaka the following Monday.

PSG had most of the early possession but the first real chance fell to Kawasaki. A pass forward split the PSG defence and released striker Marcinho, only for the Brazilian to put the ball wide with the goal at his mercy.

Kawasaki goalkeeper Jung Song-ryong saved from Mbappe a minute later after Messi had played the France attacker in on goal.

Kawasaki's Chanathip Songkrasin – nicknamed the “Thai Messi” – then cleared a shot from the Argentine off the line to prevent PSG taking the lead.

But Messi did find a way through shortly after. Mbappe jinked inside from the left and clipped in a deep cross to Achraf Hakimi, who volleyed the ball back to Messi whose right-foot shot took a deflection before hitting the back of the net.

Neymar and Mbappe came off at half-time and Kawasaki forward Kei Chinen missed a glorious chance to equalise when he blazed over the bar in the 50th minute.

Substitute Kalimuendo doubled PSG's lead when he turned home Juan Bernat's low cross in the 58th minute, before Yamamura pulled one back with six minutes left to play.

Updated: July 20, 2022, 1:07 PM
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