Kluivert opens Nice account as Messi set to make PSG debut

Paris (AFP) –


Justin Kluivert scored his first Nice goal and set up another in a 4-0 thrashing of Bordeaux in Ligue 1 on Saturday, while Mauricio Pochettino said Lionel Messi would likely make his Paris Saint-Germain debut later this weekend.

Kluivert, son of former Netherlands forward Patrick Kluivert, made his contributions before going off injured after 35 minutes.

The match at the Allianz Riviera was played behind closed doors after a pitch invasion during last Sunday's controversial game with Marseille, which saw visiting winger Dimitri Payet throw a bottle back into the stands after it was launched at him.

"It was a good birthday present even if the week was very difficult," Nice coach Christophe Galtier told Prime Video after turning 55 on Monday, less than 24 hours after the match with their southern rivals was abandoned.

"We opened the scoring quickly, even if I wasn't happy with our play straight away afterwards."

"We've started the season very well. We'll see how the players come back after the international call-ups," he added, referring to the upcoming international break.

Galtier was without Kasper Dolberg, who had scored in the Marseille match, after the Denmark forward suffered a knee injury in training.

For the visitors, Brazilian Fransergio made his debut in midfield after his midweek arrival from Braga.

Winger Kluivert, 22, who is on loan from Roma, scored in the seventh minute, highlighting his quality barely half an hour after Nice announced the signing of Algeria striker Andy Delort from Montpellier.

"I thank the club's owner who worked on the transfer," Galtier said.

"He's happy to be joining us. He's going to be an additional striker who we need in the way we play."

- Messi 'certainly' in squad -

Delort's international team-mate Hicham Boudaoui broke down the right before crossing for Kluivert, who side-footed home.

Kluivert turned provider just after the half-hour mark.

He led a counter-attack, charging towards the Bordeaux box before feeding Amine Gouiri to finish easily.

Khephren Thuram had scored just two senior goals before his effort against Bordeaux
Khephren Thuram had scored just two senior goals before his effort against Bordeaux Valery HACHE AFP

Following his early heroics, Kluivert's game was over due to a thigh injury as he was replaced by debutant Calvin Stengs, who joined from AZ Alkmaar in July.

Gouiri then took his tally for the season to three goals, converting a penalty four minutes before the break.

In the empty stadium, the second half meandered until substitute Khephren Thuram, a son of former French World Cup-winner Lilian Thuram, scored with his first touch on 85 minutes for his maiden goal of the season.

On Sunday, Messi is expected to make his bow for the league leaders in the trip to Reims.

Coach Pochettino said the Argentina attacker, along with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, will "certainly" be in the squad heading to the Champagne region.

Later on Saturday, Marseille host Saint-Etienne less than a week after walking off at Nice, with Payet expected to start.