Messi, Mbappe lead PSG to victory against Leipzig
October 20 2021 12:41 AM
Paris St Germain’s Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against RB Leipzig during the Champions Lea
Paris St Germain’s Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against RB Leipzig during the Champions League Group A match in Paris yesterday. (Reuters)

AFP/ Paris

Lionel Messi scored twice and Kylian Mbappe played a starring role but later missed a penalty as Paris Saint-Germain came from behind to beat RB Leipzig 3-2 in the Champions League yesterday. Mbappe had given PSG the lead at the Parc des Princes but a Leipzig side beaten 6-3 at Manchester City earlier in the competition did not crumble in the French capital.
Instead goals from Andre Silva and Nordi Mukiele had them in front, and at that point PSG looked as if they might pay the price for another occasionally disjointed display.
However, they were rescued by Mbappe and Messi. The Argentinian was set up by the France star for the equaliser and then coolly chipped in a 74th-minute penalty awarded for a foul on Mbappe. Mauricio Pochettino’s team, who also saw Mbappe miss from the spot in injury time, are now top of Group A at the halfway stage, a point above City, who won 5-1 at Club Brugge earlier. Leipzig, beaten by PSG in the semi-finals in 2020, are bottom without a point to their name.
For PSG the win was achieved without Neymar, sidelined by an adductor muscle injury. In any case, the world’s most expensive player has not really been himself this season, his one goal so far coming from the penalty spot. While Messi has been settling in to his new surroundings, Mbappe has been the main man for PSG.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah continued his blistering run of form by scoring twice in a 3-2 victory over 10-man Atletico Madrid. Salah gave Liverpool the lead with another splendid goal at the Wanda Metropolitano after dancing past three Atletico defenders and firing in to make it nine consecutive games the Egyptian has scored in.
But a wild contest in Madrid had several twists and turns still to come as Naby Keita doubled the advantage only for Atletico to strike twice before half-time, Antoine Griezmann pulling his team back into the match and leaving Liverpool looking temporarily dishevelled.
Yet Griezmann was sent off in the 52nd minute for a high foot into the face of Roberto Firmino and Liverpool made Atleti pay, a clumsy challenge by Mario Hermoso on Diogo Jota giving Salah the chance to win the game from the spot.
Even with 10 men, Atletico thought they might have snatched a draw late on as Luis Suarez, on off the bench, prepared to take a penalty against his former club with his first touch. Instead, referee Daniel Siebert infuriated the home crowd by cancelling his decision after consulting the replay. Liverpool move five points clear at the top of the group, with Atletico seemingly left to scrap it out with Porto for second place. They have four points each.
Earlier, Riyad Mahrez scored twice as Manchester City delivered “one of their best” Champions League performances to thrash Club Brugge 5-1 and re-emphasise their status as major contenders for a first European crown. Joao Cancelo gave City a deserved lead on the half-hour and Mahrez converted a penalty just before the break as Pep Guardiola’s side bounced back in style from last month’s loss to Paris Saint-Germain.
Kyle Walker added a third early in the second half and 19-year-old Cole Palmer bagged his first Champions League goal minutes after coming on as a substitute. Hans Vanaken pulled a goal back to the delight of the home supporters but Mahrez capped a thumping City victory with his second of the night. “It was one of the best performances in Europe we’ve done so far,” said Guardiola. “We are all delighted. We were so good.”
The win leaves City side with six points after three games in Group A, with the champions of England and Belgium to meet again in two weeks in Manchester.
Sebastien Haller scored his sixth Champions League goal in three games as Ajax took firm control of their group with a ruthless display at home as they routed Borussia Dortmund 4-0 on Tuesday. Ajax are on course for the last 16 with three wins out of three European games and Haller remains the competition’s top scorer after netting their fourth goal of the night with a crisp header.
The Ivory Coast forward scored four goals against Sporting Lisbon on his stunning Champions League debut last month, then also hit the net against Besiktas. The result sees the Dutch champions top Group C, three points ahead of Dortmund as both clubs came into the tie with two straight wins.
Real Madrid thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 as Karim Benzema scored on the eve of his trial in France on charges of complicity in blackmail. A first-half own goal from Serhiy Kryvtsov put Real on their way before Vinicius Junior scored two superb goals before setting up Rodrygo for the fourth. Benzema added the fifth in injury time in Kyiv.

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