Lionel Messi suffered his first loss as a Paris Saint-Germain player, as the Ligue 1 leaders failed to register a single shot on target in a 2-0 defeat at Rennes on Sunday.
Messi returned to PSG’s starting XI after his match-winning turn in their 2-0 victory over Manchester City in the Champions League last week, during which he registered his first goal for the club since signing on a free transfer following his departure from Barcelona.
The 34-year-old was unable to have the same impact at Roazhon Park, with Rennes producing an impressive all-around performance to spring an upset and hand Mauricio Pochettino’s side their first league defeat of the 2021-22 campaign.
Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were both guilty of missing good chances in the first half and Messi saw a trademark free-kick cannon back out off the crossbar, but Rennes ended up taking the lead just before the interval via a Gaetan Laborde volley.
PSG fell even further behind just after the restart after Flavien Tate doubled the home side’s advantage and Mbappe saw a goal ruled out for offside later in the second half, with the visitors ultimately losing with all 13 of their shots at goal failing to hit the target.
Reacting to his team’s performance, Pochettino decried his side’s wastefulness in the final third, but also admitted that they have yet to find the right “balance”.
“We are sad because we played very well for 25-30 minutes. We did not manage to score the chances we created. We are unhappy but we must continue to work.
“Of course, we are coming out of a difficult period physically. We have to get over it all. After this negative result, we must make a self-criticism. We cannot be satisfied, but there are also some positive things to keep. We will try to find the right way to play, the right balance,” the PSG boss told his post-match press conference.
PSG are still top of Ligue 1 despite the loss at Rennes, having won their previous eight games, and sit six points clear of second-placed Lens.