Mauricio Pochettino came in for Lionel Messi at halftime in PSG’s Ligue 1 match against Lille, as the superstar forward’s goal drought continued. It was all the more surprising given that Jonathan David had given the visitors the lead in the first half.
After missing training on Thursday due to a muscular issue, the Argentina international was a major doubt for the match at Parc des Princes. He was considered fit enough to play, but he was a non-factor in the first half, with both of his shots missing the target.
Messi began forward alongside Angel Di Maria and Neymar after KylianMbappe was out due to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) infection, but PSG looked lifeless in attack before the interval.
Pochettino replaced his compatriot with Mauro Icardi as a precaution, according to L’Equipe, because the Argentina captain has been suffering from a muscle ailment in recent days. Messi attempted to link up with his teammates in the final third, and he had a chance to score with a freekick right outside Lille’s box shortly before halftime, but he pushed the ball wide.
PSG scored 2-1 at the Parc des Princes courtesy to goals from Marquinhos and Di Maria in the second half, but Messi appeared impotent in the first 45 minutes, sending a freekick high and wide before being replaced by Mauro Icardi at halftime.
In the first half, the hosts battled against a superior Lille and lacked enthusiasm, committing no fouls before the break. PSG now has eight points after goals scored after the 85th minute, due to Di Maria’s late goal.
The Argentine is yet to score in Ligue 1, having failed to score in each of his five league appearances this season. Messi, on the other hand, has been on fire in the Champions League, scoring three goals in three games.