A night of turmoil: Lorient topples PSG, and Messi’s alleged slap takes center stage

Lorient stuns PSG in fiery match; Messi faces online scrutiny over alleged slap incident, as he takes a break in Saudi Arabia before season's end.

Lorient’s 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes was fraught with tension between the two teams. It all started early on with a card for Achraf Hakimi four minutes into the game that turned into a sending-off at 19′. The peak of conflict between the players was when Kylian Mbappé took advantage of an oversight by goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo to score the equalizer and unleash madness on the pitch.

The protagonists gathered around referee Jerome Brisard while waiting for the VAR to confirm his decision. The cameras of the official broadcast changed perspective, and a striking action that went viral on social networks could be observed. Lionel Messi was out of the melee and started to Marco Verratti to escape the chaos. When he ignored him, he tried again but this time with a gesture with his right arm in the direction of the PSG side.

The angle made it look like the Argentine raised his hand to slap Lorient captain Laurent Abergel, who turns as the World Cup winner calls out to his Italian teammate. However, the lack of reaction from the visiting player and a change of shot in which La Pulga is seen standing outside the conflict zone dispelled the versions of a disloyal blow on the part of the one from Rosario, Argentina.

Los tumultos y las peleas fueron moneda corriente en choque entre PSG y Lorient (Foto: Reuters)
Riots and fights were commonplace in the clash between PSG and Lorient (Photo: Reuters)

Internet users reacted to the video in which Messi was accused of a slap, and several came out to defend his action. “The world champion does what he wants,” they responded. Others preferred to praise La Pulga with a short phrase: “My captain.” There was no shortage of criticism from those who thought the blow existed and went so far as to accuse the competition authorities of erasing the fragment so that it would not come to light.

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Lionel did not have a good game in Ligue 1, and the local media punished his performance with a 3 rating. “It was one of those games where the Argentine loses his way. He made some bad decisions, was inaccurate in his initiatives, and had a visible physical deficit against the Lorient players, who gagged him well. He often came off the ball in the center circle, but without much success,” explained Le Parisien about the match.

To clear his head ahead of the season’s final five games, Messi went to Saudi Arabia with his family to enjoy a few days of peace before returning to training at the Camp des Loges. “I am pleased to welcome Saudi Arabian Tourism Ambassador Lionel Messi and his family on their second vacation here. We are happy to share our authentic Saudi welcome with all of you,” confirmed Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb.

Next Sunday, May 7, PSG will visit Troyes, host Ajaccio on Saturday, May 13, face Auxerre on May 21, clash with Racing Strasbourg on May 27, and conclude their Ligue 1 campaign against Clermont on June 3 at the Parc des Princes. It is worth remembering that the capital team was eliminated from the rest of the competitions and will only gain access to the French Super Cup if they win the domestic championship.