Reims 0-2 PSG: Lionel Messi makes his debut by replacing Neymar after Kylian Mbappe scores twice as the French giants reclaim top spot in Ligue 1 at the Stade Auguste Delaune
Lionel Messi made his highly anticipated Paris St Germain debut from the bench as the Ligue 1 club recorded a routine 2-0 win at Reims on Sunday.
Entering the field for the first time in the unfamiliar dark blue of PSG, Messi’s arrival and first touch were greeted with enthusiastic cheers from the 6,000 travelling fans.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner signed a two-year deal in the French capital on August 10 after ending a 21-year spell at Barcelona, but he had not played since winning the Copa America with Argentina on July 11.
Lionel Messi makes his first apperance for PSG after entering the fray after half-time at Reims
Messi was in the matchday squad for the first time since his shock switch to PSG on August 11
Although his influence was limited on his first PSG outing, his side were already two goals up and comfortable by the time he took to the field in the 66th minute – coming on in place of former Barca colleague Neymar.
PSG played within themselves for the majority of the match, but two goals from Kylian Mbappe were enough to secure the three points as the visitors were largely untested by their hosts.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men did not have to wait long to take the lead. With 15 minutes played, Mbappe – who started despite ongoing links with a move to Real Madrid – got between two Reims defenders to head the ball into the back of the net from a well-weighted Angel Di Maria cross.
Keylor Navas was called into action for the first time with just over five minutes left in the first half, the PSG goalkeeper having to be alert to intercept a low cross from Ilan Kebbal.
Kylian Mbappe seals a nervy PSG victory with his second of the night, slotting in to make it 2-0
Messi makes his entrance in front of two sets of fans who had both chanted his famous name
Fellow superstar Neymar (right) makes way for newcomer Messi on a historic night in Ligue 1
Reims looked to have scored an equaliser shortly after half-time when Navas was unable to hold on to a header from El Bilal Toure at the first time of asking, with Marshall Munetsi following up to bundle the ball home.
However, after a lengthy VAR review the goal was disallowed, with Munetsi marginally offside when the first ball was played in.
Mbappe added his second three minutes past the hour mark, with Achraf Hakimi the architect on this occasion.
The right-back broke forward before sending an inch-perfect pass into the path of the French forward, who tapped it home to double his side’s lead.
Messi had to wait 10 minutes after coming on for anything resembling a goalscoring opportunity. The 34-year-old drove forward before passing to Mbappe, but the return pass could not find the Argentinian
Sportsmail’s BEN MILLER had live Ligue 1 coverage of Reims vs PSG, including build-up, team news and updates.