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3 Oct, 2021 14:51

PSG woe: Lionel Messi is still yet to score in the French league after Paris Saint-Germain slump to shock first loss of the season

PSG woe: Lionel Messi is still yet to score in the French league after Paris Saint-Germain slump to shock first loss of the season

While Cristiano Ronaldo has scored three times in the Premier League since rejoining Man United, Lionel Messi is still waiting for his first Ligue 1 goal after PSG suffered a shock first defeat of the season on Sunday.

Luckless Messi hit the woodwork for the third time this season as PSG's previously perfect record evaporated at Rennes, where a 45th-minute Gaetan Laborde goal was followed by Flavien Tait's a minute after the break to leave the Argentina captain and feted strike partners Kylian Mbappe and Neymar shellshocked.

Despite scoring his first goal for the club with a stunning strike in the 2-0 win over Manchester City at the Parc des Princes in the Champions League on Tuesday, marquee signing Messi has failed to notch in all three of his appearances in a league that is often deemed considerably weaker than La Liga, in which Messi became Barcelona's top scorer of all time.

Mbappe went a sixth game without joining the scoresheet and Neymar has not netted in four matches, although neither forward's record is likely to be compared quite as closely as Messi's to the five goals in six appearances already racked up by Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United this season.

PSG thought they had pulled a goal back when Mbappe hit the net midway through the second half, only for his effort to be ruled out.

Matters almost worsened for Paris when Rennes, who finished the day seventh in the table, appeared to have been awarded a penalty in the 81st minute, only for the decision to be overturned.

"Without underestimating what Rennes have done, we are frustrated and disappointed not to have transformed our chances and to concede these goals," said PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino afterwards, admitting to being "a bit" angry. "These situations leave us bitter and disappointed.

"What we did for 25 minutes was of very good quality. We must be able to extend that for 90 minutes.

"The psychological impact of both goals, coming at key moments was significant. I am satisfied in one sense: we have created a lot of situations and opportunities."

Brazil talisman Neymar was substituted during the second half, and Pochettino again fielded questions about the risk of creating a detrimentally top-heavy team when his most formidable front three start games together.

"I don't think we can analyze the result in relation to a system," he replied. "On other occasions, such as [in the wins against] Lyon or Manchester City, this should not affect the analysis.

"We played our best 25, 30 minutes of the season. When you win against Manchester City, it's a collective question there, too. The first person [to take responsibility] is me."

Pochettino's side are six points clear of Lens at the top of the table ahead of the visit of Angers on October 15.

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