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PSG coach Pochettino defends hooking Messi on home debut

Lionel Messi made his home debut for Paris St-Germain but was replaced in the second half as they went on to beat Lyon to make it six wins from six.

Summer signing Messi hit the angle of post and bar with a free-kick in the first half and forced a save from Anthony Lopes but was below his best.

With the score 1-1, the 34-year-old was replaced by right-back Achraf Hakimi and did not look happy at coming off.

Messi was given a round of applause, but not a standing ovation by his fans.

The forward, who left Barcelona this summer, did not stop but briefly said something to boss Mauricio Pochettino while walking past him to the bench.

Pochettino said his decision to substitute Messi was not controversial.

"I think we all know we have great players in this 35-man squad," said the former Tottenham manager. "Only 11 can play, we can't play more. The decisions in the game are made for the good of the team and each player.

"Every coach thinks about that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes players like it and sometimes they don't. At the end of the day, that's why we're here.

"These are decisions that have to be made by the coach. As for his reaction, I asked him how he was, he said he was OK. That was it. That was our exchange."

This was Messi's third game for Paris St-Germain - the third game he has played for a club other than Barcelona.


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