Troyes 1 – 2 PSG

PSG started their Ligue 1 campaign with a 2-1 win at promoted Troyes while anticipating the arrival of Lionel Messi, who appears set to join the French giants.

Messi will be holding a news conference at 11am on Sunday after Barcelona said earlier this week that the 34-year-old Argentine will leave the club.

Messi is set to join Paris Saint-Germain after Barcelona president Joan Laporta said the club had been forced to part ways with the player because his high wages, coupled with strict La Liga financial rules, could jeopardise their future.

Following the hard-fought win over Troyes, PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino remained tight-lipped about signing Messi having said on Friday that his compatriot was “an option that was being evaluated”.

“His name is associated with different clubs, there are plenty of rumours,” Pochettino was quoted as saying by L’Equipe.

“We will see what happens in the coming days. The players have stayed focused. We did not start the game well and we gave away too many chances for my liking.

“But we have to give Troyes credit for making it difficult for us, they showed a lot of energy. We would have liked to win 5-0 but we’ll take what we achieved.”

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Mauro Icardi put PSG in front at Troyes after a slow start for the Ligue 1 giants

The speculation proved to be an unwelcome distraction for PSG early on at Troyes, who took a shock ninth-minute lead when Oualid El Hajjam beat visiting goalkeeper Kaylor Navas with a firm downward header after a Dylan Chambost corner.

But the visitors, who relinquished the French league title to Lille last season, hit back with a quickfire double as new signing Achraf Hakimi levelled in the 19th minute before Mauro Icardi turned the tide in the 21st.

PSG's Achraf Hakimi scored on his Ligue 1 debut to level matters after signing from Inter Milan earlier this summer
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PSG’s Achraf Hakimi scored on his Ligue 1 debut to level matters after signing from Inter Milan earlier this summer

Hakimi, who joined PSG from Inter Milan during the summer break, blasted in a sumptuous volley from a tight angle before Icardi found the roof of the net with the outside of his foot thanks to good work by Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe twice came close in the second half with one of his shots cleared off the line and the other flying over the bar before PSG were forced to hang on in the closing stages.

Navas, who kept out three efforts from Renaud Ripart, denied Troyes a share of the spoils in stoppage time as he palmed away the striker’s glancing header from close range with PSG on the back foot in the last 15 minutes.

In the day’s early fixture, Lyon were held to a 1-1 home draw by Brest after substitute Islam Slimani scored with his first touch of the ball to cancel out an Irvin Cardona opener for the visitors.

Lille start their title defence at Metz on Sunday while Marseille visit Montpellier in the day’s other standout fixture.

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