Sports Desk, Oct 19 (EFE).- Lionel Messi scored twice Tuesday to power Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 over RB Leipzig and preserve the Ligue 1 side’s narrow lead in Champions League Group A over Manchester City, who pounded Club Brugge 5-1, while Real Madrid emerged from a winless run with a 5-0 thrashing of Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Blancos’ cross-town rivals, Atletico Madrid, lost 3-2 to visiting Liverpool, who got a brace from Mohamed Salah.
With Neymar injured, Kylian Mbappe appeared to benefit from having more space and the France international put PSG ahead with a tremendous goal in the 9th minute.
Unbowed, Leipzig reacted and Andre Silva brought the visitors level in the 28th minute, seconds after forcing a fine stop from Keylor Navas.
The PSG goalkeeper could do nothing to stop Nordi Mukiele from giving Leipzig the lead in the 57th minute, but he thwarted Silva in the 65th to keep the deficit to one goal.
On the next sequence, Mbappe and Messi work a give-and-go that ended with the ball on the Argentine’s foot.
Leipzig keeper Peter Gulacsi pushed the Argentine’s initial effort aside only to see the ball bounce off the post and back to Messi for an easy tap-in.
Mbappe won a penalty in the 73rd minute and Messi bested Gulacsi with a Panenka to put the home side ahead 3-2.
The referee awarded PSG another penalty deep into stoppage time and Messi yielded the kick to Mbappe, who failed to convert.
The Parisians remain top of the group with 7 points, just 1 better than Man City after Pep Guardiola’s men cruised 5-1 against Club Brugge on a Riyad Mahrez double and a goal apiece from Joao Cancelo, Kyle Walker and 19-year-old Cole Palmer.
Shakhtar went behind in the 37th minute on Serhiy Kryvtsov’s own goal and then conceded four more in the second half, including a pair by Vinicius Jr. and a late goal by Karim Benzema.
The result brings the Blancos to 6 points from three matches, the same as upstart Sheriff Tiraspol, who still lead Group B on the strength of their victory over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu last month.
Sheriff lost 3-1 Tuesday to Inter Milan, who improved to 4 points.
Liverpool came into the match at the Wanda Metropolitano with the memory of how Atleti derailed their defense of the Champions League trophy in 2020 still fresh in their minds and they raced out to a 2-0 advantage on goals by Salah and Naby Keita.
But the Colchoneros stormed back to level the score on Antoine Griezmann’s double, but the hosts went down to 10 men in the 52nd minute with the Frenchman’s expulsion for a high boot that caught Roberto Firmino in the face.
Atleti might have managed to hang on for the point if not for Mario Hermoso’s inexplicable foul on Diogo Jota in the 76th minute, transformed by Salah into a 3-2 edge for Liverpool.
With eight minutes left, the referee awarded a penalty to Atletico after an encounter between Jota and Jose Maria Gimenez, but the VAR review concluded there was no foul.
The Reds sit atop Group B with 9 points, 5 ahead of Atletico and Porto, 1-0 winners Tuesday against AC Milan.
Also on 9 points are Ajax, who lead Group C by 3 points over Borussia Dortmund. EFE