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Maestro Messi strikes twice to lead PSG's victorious fightback against RB Leipzig

·4 min read

Star signing Lionel Messi bagged a brace on Tuesday night to steer Paris Saint-Germain's recovery from a 2-1 deficit to a 3-2 victory over RB Leipzig.

The Parc des Princes was stunned into silence 12 minutes into the second half when the visitors took a 2-1 lead through defender Nordi Mukiele.

But 10 minutes later Messi collected Kylian Mbappé's pass and slotted the ball past the Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi.

With 16 minutes left, Messi cooly converted a spot kick awarded after Mohamed Simakan bundled over Mbappé in the penalty area.

The 34-year-old Argentine chipped the ball into the centre of the gaping goal after Gulacsi had dived to his left.

Joy

The PSG faithful lapped up the audacity of the strike. It was Messi's third goal since his move to the French capital in August after more than two decades at Barcelona.

Mbappé had the chance to calm down the final minutes of the game safe but he fired a stoppage-time penalty high over the bar.

Emil Forsberg could have punished the imprecision moments later but the Swede lashed wastefully over.

A 3-3 scoreline would not have been undeserved.

Form

The Germans travelled to the Group A pacesetters in abysmal form in the Champions League. Manchester City thrashed them 6-3 in their first game in Group A and they also lost 2-1 at home to Club Bruges.

Leipzig's Bundesliga form has been abject too. They lie eighth in the German top flight with only three wins from their eight games.

Nevertheless, in the prelude to Tuesday night's clash, the PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe said it would be a tough game.

His comments appeared unnecessarily cautious. Yet Kimpembe appeared prescient.

In the absence of the injured Neymar, PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino deployed Messi to the right of Mbappé and the Germany international Julian Draxler to the left.

Dogged

Even with such impressive firepower, Leipzig had the first chance of the encounter when PSG old boy Christopher Nkunku teed up Konrad Laimer.

But PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas palmed away his tame shot for a corner.

Draxler scooped over soon after and within seconds at the other end Laimer forced another save from Navas.

In the melee for the rebound, Leipzig wanted referee Marco Guida to whistle a free kick but Draxler refused to dither.

He sent Mbappé clear and the 22-year-old thrashed the ball past Gulacsi for the opener after 10 minutes.

Twenty minutes it was all square. Nkunku threaded a pass behind the PSG defence for Angelino who set up Andre Silva to ram home past Navas.

It was a reward for Leipzig's character and enterprise after going behind and stifling Messi.

The visitors could have gone in at half-time in the lead but Nkunku fluffed two presentable chances.

Messi later showed him the joys of marksmanship.

PSG lead Group A with seven points from their three games.

Manchester City moved up to second after walloping Club Bruges 5-1.

Algeria international Riyad Mahrez scored twice in the rout. There were goals too for Joao Cancelo, Kyle Walker and 19-year-old Cole Palmer who scored his first goal in the Champions League.

Elsewhere in the competition, Antoine Griezmann scored twice to help Atletico Madrid back from 2-0 down at home to Liverpool.

But the France international was given a straight red card early in the second-half at the Wanda Metropolitano for a crude hack on Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino.

A Mo Salah penalty 13 minutes from time secured a 3-2 win for the 2019 champions who lead Group B with nine points.

In Group C, Sporting Portugal got their first points of the campaign with a 4-1 victory at Besiktas.

In Amsterdam, Ajax took control of the pool with a 4-0 win over Borussia Dortmund. A Marco Reus own-goal and a strike from Daley Blind gave the Dutch outfit a 2-0 lead at half-time.

Antony added the third 12 minutes after the restart and Sebastian Haller capped a fine display with the fourth 18 minutes from time to give Ajax nine points from their three games.

In Group D, Inter Milan relaunched their campaign with a 3-1 win over FC Sheriff at the San Siro.

The Italians lie third, two points behind Real Madrid who thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0. FC Sheriff remain top despite the defeat.

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