PSG finally looks like a juggernaut after beating Manchester City in the Champions League thanks to Lionel Messi.
PSG won their first match of the group stage on Tuesday, with players all over the field contributing to the victory.
FRANCE: With a 2-0 win over Manchester City on Tuesday, PSG’s Lionel Messi era has officially begun. The iconic Argentine has resumed his habit of scoring against the English champions,
giving the French giants an early lead in UEFA Champions League Group A.
Even more importantly for Tottenham’s manager, Mauricio Pochettino, who had been criticized prior to kickoff for his inability to clearly define his team’s identity, the result means the manager has now delivered on paper, matching his impressive start to the season thanks to Lionel Messi and Idrissa Gueye.
Even though Manchester City will be haunted by Bernardo Silva’s stunning miss, Gianluigi Donnarumma made an excellent Champions League debut with a succession of saves to keep Pep Guardiola’s visitors at bay at Parc des Princes. The Italian Euro winner did not look out of his element at the Parc des Princes.
After the game, Donnarumma revealed that “people on social media were speculating about my leaving PSG because Keylor was playing as a starter.” As I scrolled through Facebook, I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s jam-packed with unsubstantiated claims. Let them talk; the club supports me. I am very thrilled to be at PSG.
Messi’s goal, which doubled PSG’s lead after they had to ride a wave of pressure from City after the restart, was the key talking point. He opened his PSG account with a beautiful finish.
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Messi had a sporadic game, connecting with his teammates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe just on a few occasions before the goal. After a build-up starring Marco Verratti and the Brazilian, though, came a finish from the new No. 30 that was nothing short of magnificent!
Pochettino admitted after the game that he “celebrated” today. “I don’t normally celebrate my accomplishments because they are ingrained in my mind. On the other hand, today I let out an audible shriek. I’ve seen enough Messi goals scored against me to feel like I’ve earned it. For me, it was a special occasion.
“If Leo is happy in Paris, I will be so happy for him,” Guardiola said after the game. ‘Let me also add that Verratti has my heart.’ He’s a fantastic athlete who excels at whatever he does. Although he is diminutive in stature, you can always rely on him. His return from injury is welcome news, and I am glad to see him playing again.
It’s possible that Pochettino was considering taking Messi off before the goal because he felt that he had little left to give after returning from a knee injury that kept him out of the previous two Ligue 1 victories over Metz and Montpellier.
The choice of the former Tottenham Hotspur manager to support his fellow Argentine paid off wonderfully, though,
and was ultimately the difference between scraping a win and having the final score reflect what was an excellent performance across the board.
After a long time in the locker room, Messi finally broke the silence. “I haven’t had much time to practice. To be honest, I’m still getting used to my teammates and the group as a whole. Today was a pivotal day in my life.
PSG kept a clean sheet for the second time in as many games, and under Pochettino, the midfield has grown in importance, with Gueye scoring in back-to-back games to round off a productive September.
At this point for PSG, it’s critical not to get carried away and think that the hard part is over — results and performances won’t just come as a result of this, and identifying the strongest XI and style to match as the season progresses remains a top priority going forward.
PSG’s fate in Group A is once again in their own hands after Club Brugge’s excellent away win at RB Leipzig,who visit the French capital next. This immediately undoes the harm done by the initial draw at Club Brugge.
After lighting the touchpaper for the season, it’s up to Pochettino,
Messi, and the rest of this star-studded squad to build on their early success. An unbeaten league campaign is now a distinct possibility, as is finishing atop Group A in the Champions League.
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