Paris, Sep 28 (EFE).- Paris Saint-Germain weathered the storm against a potent Manchester City side and made better use of their more infrequent scoring opportunities here Tuesday night in a 2-0 Champions League victory, which notably included Lionel Messi’s first goal with his new club.
The win provides a morale boost for PSG even though the team has yet to hit its stride since last month’s blockbuster signing of the Argentine superstar.
Citizens head coach Pep Guardiola, for his part, has grounds to believe his much anticipated match-up against PSG counterpart Mauricio Pochettino and Messi, his former talisman at FC Barcelona, could easily have had a different outcome.
PSG’s star attacking trio of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe got off to a strong start at Parc des Princes, all having a hand in a play in the eighth minute that ended with Senegalese midfielder Idrissa Gueye firing into the top right corner for his third goal in the Parisians’ last six contests.
City looked to strike back quickly, however, in the 26th minute, with Raheem Sterling hitting the crossbar with a header and Bernardo Silva somehow failing to score from just a couple of meters away when his shot also ricocheted off the bar. A moment later, Silva looked for penalty after seemingly having been brought down in the area.
Then it was net minder Gianluigi Donnarumma’s turn to stymie the Premier League giants, repeatedly filling in the holes that City’s host of stars – and Riyad Mahrez and Kevin De Bruyne in particular – began opening up in PSG’s defense.
Mbappe, meanwhile, looked to set up a second score for PSG with a pair of crosses from the left side, but Ederson stopped a blast from Ander Herrera and Marquinhos was unable to get his foot on his teammate’s pass near the goal mouth.
PSG continued to cling to their lead after the intermission thanks mainly to Donnarumma, who thwarted scoring chances by Sterling and De Bruyne.
PSG then started to come alive midway through the second half, with Neymar threatening in the 65th minute before Messi played a give-and-go with Mbappe before depositing the ball into the back of the net in minute 74.
The goal was the 34-year-old Messi’s first in a PSG uniform and the seventh he has scored against a Guardiola-coached team, more than any other player.
Manchester City had no response down the stretch, falling to their first defeat in the group phase of Europe’s premier annual club competition since 2018.
“For the goal, everything went very quickly. It was a counter. I played it to Kylian, who set it back to me first time, and I was able to shoot immediately,” Messi was quoted as saying in remarks to PSGTV. “I’m very happy with this goal. It’s my second match here at the Parc. I’m happy to have been able to celebrate with my teammates and all of the supporters, especially during such an important match.”
With the win, PSG now sit atop Group A with four points (ahead of Belgian side Club Brugge on goal differential) after two matches played, while Manchester City are in third place with three points. EFE