Lionel Messi Jeered On Return But PSG Edge Closer To Title

Paris Saint-Germain closed in on a record 11th French league title with a 5-0 home win over Ajaccio on Saturday as Lionel Messi received a mixed reception on his return from suspension. Fabian Ruiz opened the scoring on 22 minutes at the Parc des Princes and Achraf Hakimi added a second goal before Kylian Mbappe struck twice shortly after half-time. Mohamed Youssouf compounded a miserable night for the Corsicans with an own goal for PSG’s fifth, while Hakimi and Ajaccio midfielder Thomas Mangani were sent off after a late bust-up.

PSG need four points from their final three games — against Auxerre, Strasbourg, and Clermont — to secure the Ligue 1 title after restoring their six-point lead over second-placed Lens.

“The players were very determined to put in a proper display. They want to be champions and they realize that Lens isn’t giving up and a misstep could raise the pressure,” said PSG coach Christophe Galtier.

Messi’s name elicited a combination of whistles and applause when it was read out before kick-off after he was banned by the club for last weekend’s match over an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia.

The Argentine again drew jeers with his early touches in what was likely his penultimate appearance in Paris ahead of a reported move to Saudi Arabia for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.

“So there are whistles but very quickly a large part of the stadium made sure to drown them out to support Leo,” said Galtier.

“He stayed focused with the desire to liven up the game and create chances. He’s used to it because he’s been in difficult situations in his career.”

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