Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Nantes: Lionel Messi, Neymar and Sergio Ramos goals help PSG win Trophee des Champions
Reigning Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain swept aside Nantes to claim their first trophy under new manager Christophe Galtier, sweeping aside last season’s Coupe de France winners Nantes 3-0. Lionel Messi opened the scoring before Neymar added a second and Sergio Ramos added a third in the second half. Neymar then rounded off the scoring from the penalty spot late on.
Paris Saint-Germain's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi reacts after scoring the first goal of the match during the French Champions' Trophy (Trophee des Champions) final football match, Paris Saint-Germain versus FC Nantes, in the at the Bloomfield Stadiu
Paris Saint-Germain beat 10-man Nantes 4-0 to claim their 15th Trophee des Champions and deliver an ominous warning to their domestic challengers.
The reigning Ligue 1 champions were dominant from start to finish and Lionel Messi gave perhaps his best performance yet in a PSG shirt.
Despite PSG racking up 85% possession, Nantes had the two best chances in the opening 20 minutes with Ludovic Blas and Moses Simon going close, but there was no surprise when Lionel Messi opened the scoring.
Messi had been at the heart of every PSG attack and on 22 minutes, Neymar drifted in off the left and looked for his ex-Barcelona team mate with a through ball. The Brazilian’s pass took a kind deflection into Messi’s path and the Argentinian raced into the box, rounding goalkeeper Alban Lafont before hammering his right-footed shot into the empty net.
PSG continued to dominate and the Messi-Neymar connection produced some delightful interplay but it was still only 1-0 until moments before half-time.
When Moussa Sissoko clattered Neymar on the edge of the box, the Brazilian stepped up to take the resulting free kick and delivered an unstoppable strike to double PSG’s lead.
Sergio Ramos made it 3-0 with a back-heeled finish from close range after Verratti chipped it to Pablo Sarabia.
Messi sparked a late counter which ended with Neymar being rugby tackled and awarded a penalty which he impudently dispatched for 4-0.
Nantes defender Jean-Charles Castelletto was also sent off in the same incident.
Even at 4-0 up, PSG continued to attack with energy and numbers. Messi went close to a fifth with a cheeky chip, while Neymar also looked likely to add another before full-time.
In the end, PSG had to settle for a 4-0 win, and a trophy to start the new season.
Paris Saint-Germain's Sergio Ramos celebrates after scoring third goal during the Champions Trophy at Bloomfield Stadium on July 31, 2022 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)
Image credit: Getty Images
Talking point – Has Galtier fixed PSG?
PSG’s new manager spoke before the match about wanting to attack in numbers and solve the persistent issue of stale, anemic stretches of possession.
There was supposed to be a new approach.
Mauricio Pochettino wasn’t able to eliminate this problem last season, but on the strength of this showing, Galtier may have cracked it.
Playing Messi as the nominal nine, but allowing him the freedom to drop deeper and link up with Neymar worked brilliantly against Nantes.
The ability of Sarabia to move into the central attacking role when Messi drops deeper meant that there was always a focal point to the attack. When Mbappe returns, he will likely play the same role.
Even at 3 and 4-0 up, PSG were bombing forward in numbers and buzzing around providing passing options. Only once did a PSG attack break down for lack of numbers, that coming in the final minutes as debutant Nordi Mukiele surged forward on a solo run.
Player of the Match: Lionel Messi
The Argentinian produced a vintage display, reminiscent of his finest days at Barcelona, against Nantes.
Playing in the false nine role, Messi played with freedom and creativity, at times running onto passes in the attacking third, at others dropping deep to play provider.
With a little fortune, Messi could have had a first-half hat-trick and an assist or two, but it was also the little touches of interplay - particularly with Neymar - that really stood out.
He even won the ball back with some tenacious defending.
Messi produced some excellent games last season, too but this felt different. If he can carry this form through the season, PSG will really be building something special.
Paris Saint-Germain's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) fights for the ball against Nantes' French goalkeeper Alban Lafont during the French Champions' Trophy (Trophee des Champions) final football match, Paris Saint-Germain versus FC Nantes
5’ ALMOST A MAGIC GOAL Neymar darts in from the left flank, finds Messi who in turn slips a dinked pass into the box. Alban Lafont reacts decisively but that was close to something special.
18’ GREAT SAVE DONNARUMMA PSG's Italian keeper has to be at full stretch to turn Blas' shot from the edge of the box around the post for a corner.
40’ MESSI ALMOST SETS UP NEYMAR Neymar darts into the box and Messi finds him with a clever chip. The Brazilian spins and shoots just wide.
44’ MESSI CLOSE TO HIS SECOND Neymar leads the charge down the pitch but a deflection falls to Messi again. The Argentinian weaves through the Nantes defence and looks to just slide his shot beyond Lafont but the French keeper gets down well to deny him.
45+5’ GOAL: NEYMAR After being hammered on the edge of the box, Neymar steps up to take the free kick and whips it over the wall and into the top left corner.
57’ GOAL PSG Sergio Ramos makes it 3-0 with a back-heel finish from close range. Verratti's chipped pass finds Sarabia who clips it back across goal to Ramos. The veteran Spaniard finds himself facing the wrong way and takes the natural decision to back-heel it in.
82’ GOAL: NEYMAR After being rugby tackled in the box, Neymar is awarded a penalty and passes it into the net with cold-blooded calm.
90’ FULL-TIME After an excellent performance and a 4-0 win, PSG are officially Trophee des Champions winners for the 15th time.
PSG: 32 – While not specifically a PSG stat, his opening goal against Nantes was Lionel Messi’s 32nd goal in a cup final. Simply an absurd record for a legendary player not quite ready to head into the autumn of his career.
Nantes: 8 -- Nantes had eight shots against PSG, more than half of which came from inside the box. At 0-0 they had both more, and better chances than their opposition, and those chances only really dried up after Ramos' goal ended the contest. That is all to say that Nantes had their chances to pull off an upset in Tel Aviv but simply failed to convert them.