Wednesday, October 27, 2021

PSG 2-0 Manchester City: Major Talking Points As Lionel Messi Lights Up Paris

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 28 Sep 2021

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In what was bookmarked as a European heavyweight showdown on Tuesday night, PSG managed to land their first Champions League victory at the second attempt with an eye-catching display on home soil.

Laying down a real marker at the Parc des Princes, Les Parisiens grabbed a 2-0 win against defending Premier League champions Manchester City in what could have easily been a dress rehearsal for next year’s final.

On a night that saw their latest attacking icon finally open up his account in front of a vocal home support, we have taken a look at the key talking points as PSG brought City crashing back down to earth.

PSG lay down their Champions League marker

While PSG might have seen Lille shockingly snatch their Ligue 1 title last season, there is no doubt that the French giants have come flying out the traps since opening the 2021/22 campaign.

Storming their way to the top of the French table and the only side from across Europe’s top-tiers that can boast a 100% domestic start, Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino got what was arguably his team’s biggest result on Tuesday.

Assembling what many feel is the most stacked squad from across the continent, the former Tottenham boss saw his side get off to the perfect start as midfielder Idrissa Gueye smashed the ball home with just eight minutes on the clock.

Priced at 3/1 with Unibet to lift their first-ever Champions League crown this season, Les Parisiens put in a gritty display on home soil as Pochettino managed to get his tactics perfect on what was a blockbuster night at the Parc des Princes.

While there might have been much made of Lionel Messi’s start to life in France, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner sent Paris into overdrive as he bagged his first PSG goal in some style.

Despite missing PSG’s last two Ligue 1 games with a minor knock, the now-former Barcelona superstar secured all three points for his new side with a stunning finish late into the second-half.

Linking up well with Kylian Mbappe, Messi’s trademark finish across Ederson from the edge of the box only topped off what was a perfect night for Pochettino and his star-studded squad.

City’s striking issues

Making the trip out to Paris on Tuesday night coming off the back of their stunning display at Stamford Bridge last weekend, many expected Manchester City to lay down their own European marker in midweek.

However, while the defending Premier League champions might have landed an eye-catching 1-0 win against Chelsea in preparation for Tuesday’s contest, the Sky Blues once again showed some worrying issues in the final third.

Electing to drop Saturday’s winner Gabriel Jesus and replace him with Raheem Sterling, Pep Guardiola’s side failed to find a way past Champions League debutant Gianluigi Donnarumma.

While the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Kevin De Bruyne might have forced the Italian keeper into a pair of saves on either side of the break, there is no doubt that Bernardo Silva will still be wondering how he didn’t convert from inside the six-yard box.

Watching Sterling’s glanced header rebound off the crossbar, the Portuguese playmaker failed to tap home with the goal at his mercy as he also saw his poked effort come back off the bar for the second time in a matter of seconds.

While Jesus’ deflected effort might have landed City that 1-0 win away at Chelsea last weekend, the former Bayern Munich boss will have a headache over his side’s problems in the final third.

Despite mustering seven shots on target in Paris, the Sky Blues have scored just a single goal from their last three matchups across all formats.

What’s next for both?

Crashing out of the Champions League last season thanks to a 4-1 aggregate defeat against Tuesday’s guests, PSG certainly have their sights set on claiming their first European trophy this time around.

Storming their way to the top of Group A and bouncing back from their 1-1 draw against Club Brugge a fortnight ago, Pochettino’s side will be desperate to keep up that momentum.

Next up for the French giants, Les Parisiens will be seen on October 19th when they welcome RB Leipzig to Paris.

As for Manchester City, watching their seven-match unbeaten run come to an end at the Parc des Princes, the Sky Blues will know that they face another huge task when they turn their attention back to Premier League duties this weekend.

Demanding an immediate response from his side on Sunday afternoon, Guardiola’s defending champions will make the trip to Anfield when they face off against a high-flying Liverpool.

Match Report:

PSG: Donnarumma (8.5), Hakimi (8), Marquinhos (8.5), Kimpembe (7.5), Tavares Mendes (5.5), Herrera (8), Verratti (8.5), Gueye (9), Messi (8.5), Neymar (6), Mbappe (7)

Subs: Wijnaldum (7), Danilo (N/A)

Manchester City: Ederson (6), Walker (5), Dias (6), Laporte (5.5), Cancelo (6), Rodri (7), De Bruyne (6), B. Silva (5), Mahrez (6.5), Sterling (4), Grealish (3)

Subs: Gabriel Jesus (5.5), Foden (6)

Goals: Gueye 8′, Messi 74′

Yellow Cards: PSG: Verratti – Manchester City: Cancelo, De Bruyne

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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