Lionel Messi’s 121st goal in the Champions League helped Paris Saint-Germain to a 2-0 win over Manchester City at Parc des Princes, getting his goalscoring account for the French giants up and running in the process.
In a game where his former mentor Pep Guardiola’s side saw more of the ball and created far more chances, it was the hosts who made no mistake with theirs, sparking their Champions League dream into life after the underwhelming draw with Club Brugge on matchday one. Messi’s finish rolled back the years and took everyone in the stadium and home back to his prime at Barcelona.
The Argentine had the ball glued to him like it was at Camp Nou for his goal, before having a neat one-two with Kylian Mbappe then placing a delightful left-footed effort into the top-right corner, leaving City goalkeeper Ederson stranded.
It was the moment the whole of Paris and the world had waited for, for the all-time legend to get underway in the French capital and it came against a familiar foe that the 34-year-old has terrorised in the past. His second-half strike against the Premier League champions was the seventh time in as many appearances he has scored against them.
It was always going to be a case of when he was going to get off the mark and it was just fate that it would be against one of English football’s elite on the grandest of stages. His compatriot and manager Mauricio Pochettino will be elated for his star signing to be off the mark but the goal was the icing on the cake of a hard-fought and well-earned victory.
City saw more of the ball and created a lot more openings in front of goal but PSG’s defence stayed resolute and their organisation was exceptional. Idrissa Gueye was a standout in the midfield and he opened the scoring in the first-half with a classy finish to give him his first goal in the competition and fourth this season.
Guardiola’s side pushed immediately to get themselves level and had a flutter of half chances, but the hosts gathered momentum as the half went on and Ander Herera had an effort tipped over the bar after some brilliant movement from Kylian Mbappe exploited City’s defence. Ruben Dias came close to heading in the equaliser just before the break as he met a De Bruyne corner at the far post but Gianluigi Donnarumma was on hand to deny him.
The second half was more of the same with chances at either end but it appeared Gueye had spent the quality in the game with his wonderful strike in the opening stages. You can never write off the magic of Messi though, and his second-half goal probably edged the opener. There was an added delight for Donnarumma who kept a precious clean sheet on his Champions League debut.
Over in Portugal, it was a case of deja vu for Porto as they were once again put to the sword against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. The Reds’ attack of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were on hand to cause them more defensive headaches as they ran out as 5-1 victors. The comfortable result means that Klopp’s men have taken maximum points from the first two fixtures which puts them in a strong position as they approach the midpoint of the group stage.