Paris Saint-Germain remain top of UEFA Champions League Group A after a scarcely deserved 3-2 win over RB Leipzig at Parc des Princes which puts Jesse Marsch’s men in a fight to even reach the UEFA Europa League knockout phase.
Lionel Messi scored twice in the second half to add to Kylian Mbappe’s opener which meant that Andre Silva and Nordi Mukiele’s goals as part of a decent collective effort from the Germans were rendered little more than academic.
However, PSG should also be grateful to goalkeeper Keylor Navas for several sharp saves which kept Leipzig at bay and some inexplicable quickfire errors which allowed the hosts back into a match which they looked unable to recover in.
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That is the most important thing,” captain Marquinhos told RMC Sport. “We had to suffer — there are no gifts in football. We knew there would be no easy matches. The main thing was the win, the confidence boost and experience it brings.
The coach saw the style of play and that it was difficult to press with Leipzig’s full-backs high up and causing problems. We suffered on both goals as they were always superior out wide. The change allowed us more security at the back.
It started ideally for Mauricio Pochettino and his men with Mbappe firing home inside of the opening 10 minutes to put the finishing touch to a lethal counterattack born out of a contentious Messi tackle but a heavy knock to the French superstar seemed to stop Les Parisiens in their tracks.
Leipzig could sense PSG falling flat and Silva went close when he hit the post on the turn after Navas’ gloves had already been warmed so it was no surprise when the Portugal international converted from Angelino’s ball in just before the half-hour mark.
From that moment onwards, Leipzig were in the ascendancy, and it was a question of time before they went in front and that moment arrived just before the hour mark when another Angelino inch perfect ball in teed up Mukiele to convert.
At that moment, Pochettino and his PSG side looked lost, and it was the unfortunate Tyler Adams who allowed them back into the contest with a dreadful attempted back pass which enabled Messi to scramble in a highly untidy finish which suddenly swung the momentum.
Just seven minutes later and the comeback was complete when the French giants were awarded a penalty for a foul on Mbappe by Mohamed Simakan and Messi coolly found the back of the net with a Panenka finish to the delight of the packed Parc des Princes.
There was further drama with PSG awarded another spot kick via VAR only for Mbappe to show none of his earlier charity towards Messi and he stepped up only to blaze over instead of making a nervy game totally safe.
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It was a tough game,” Mbappe told Canal+. “All Champions League matches are. We won at home, in front of our fans and we stay top of the group. It was not all bad and there were some good things. There also some not-so-good things. When you play good teams, there are things that go a little less well.
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Marsch will have plenty of regrets while Pochettino will feel relief more than anything else, but neither will argue too much that the outstanding performer on the night was Parisien youth academy graduate Christopher Nkunku returning to the capital.
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That Mukiele, also hailing from Paris, also scored for the Germans is little more than anecdotic and the Frenchman and his teammates are now in very grave danger of total elimination from Europe with zero points from a possible nine and a four-point gap to Club Brugge.
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For PSG, it was another muddled performance which has gone unpunished and they will now travel to Marseille for Le Classique knowing that an unforgiving Stade Velodrome atmosphere awaits and makes an improved display imperative.
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