World Cup winner Lionel Messi scores on Paris Saint-Germain return

Argentina captain on target in Ligue 1 win against Angers at Parc des Princes

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Lionel Messi scored in his first game for Paris St-Germain since winning the World Cup with Argentina as the Ligue 1 leaders beat Angers at Parc des Princes on Wednesday.

Messi, 35, had been rested for PSG's first three matches following the long break in the season caused by the Qatar tournament but he returned to training in Paris a week ago and was back in the starting line-up against Ligue 1's bottom side.

The win saw PSG move six points clear at the top of the French table.

Neymar also started, having missed his team's last two matches due to suspension and to undergo treatment on the ankle injury he suffered playing for Brazil at the World Cup.

Meanwhile Kylian Mbappe was rested for a second straight game having been given time off for a holiday in New York in the wake of his own World Cup campaign, which saw him score a hat-trick in the final but end up on the losing side.

The absence of the France star meant that 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 were not at their sparkling best but Messi swept in his 13th club goal of the season to make it 2-0 with 17 minutes left.

Ekitike and Mukiele were again involved before Messi applied the finish. The goal was initially disallowed for offside before a VAR check allowed it to stand.

It was a 10th straight league loss for Angers, while Christophe Galtier's PSG team extended their lead at the top of the table as second-placed Lens were held to a 2-2 draw away at Strasbourg.

Updated: January 11, 2023, 11:56 PM