Leo Messi scored twice for Paris Saint-German against Leipzig, bringing his team three vital points in the race to the knockout stages in the Champions League.
Paris went in front after nine minutes of play when Mbappe brilliantly finished off a counter-attack he orchestrated all by himself. Leipzig first sounded the alarm in the 27th minute. Andre Silva controlled a ball in the PSG box and directed it toward the goal, but PSG’s keeper Keylor Navas was saved by the post. Another beautiful play from Leipzig offered them the equalizer just seconds later. Angelino sent a perfect cross into the box and Andre Silva was at the receiving end to level it up from close range.
Former PSG academy star Nordi Mukiele put Leipzig up 2-1 in the 57th minute before Messi stole the show. First, Messi netted following an assist from Mbappe (’67), then the Frenchman was fouled in the box and Messi stepped up to take the penalty. A beautiful “Panenka” followed and PSG went up 3-2. Right after being fouled, Mbappe pointed toward Messi, offering him the chance to become the hero of the night. Mbappe himself could have finished the game with two goals to his name, but he wasted a penalty in extra time when his effort from the spot went way over the crossbar.
“It’s normal that I let Messi take the first penalty. It’s a matter of respect, he’s the best player on the planet,” Mbappe commented.
‘Leipzig frustrated by Messi and PSG’
The German media reacted positively following Leipzig’s performance at Parc des Princes. Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that Messi and PSG frustrated a very courageous Leipzig team.
“The Bundesliga club was on par with the French star ensemble for almost the entire match,” FAZ wrote. “Leipzig played courageously, made life extremely difficult for PSG – and still fell behind. When it looked like a surprise might be on the cards, Messi was there.”
Sportschau kept the tone, adding that “the round of 16 is a long way off for RB. And even still playing in Europe after winter is a distant goal as they stand four points behind Brugge.”
French paper L’Equipe remarked Mbappe was “omnipresent,” granting him with the highest mark on the night. The world champion got an eight for his performance. “Mbappe was involved in the three most important moments PSG had in the game: he scored a goal, assisted Messi’s goal, and produced a penalty.” The paper opened its printed edition on Wednesday morning with a title dedicated to Messi and Mbappe. “Saved by their artists,” L’Equipe wrote.
PSG top Group A in the Champions League, with seven points in three games. Manchester City beat Club Brugge 5-1 away to climb to second in the group on six points. The Belgian champions are third on four points, while Leipzig, a semifinalist in 2020, is at the bottom with zero points.