Lionel Messi finally opened his goalscoring account for PSG in their 2-0 win over Manchester City with his goal on matchday two of the UEFA Champions League. Senegal midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye scored the other goal for the French giants in the match.
Both sides came into the match following contrasting experiences on matchday one. While PSG were held to a disappointing draw by Belgian champions Club Brugge, Manchester City thrashed RB Leipzig 6-3 at the Etihad Stadium.
It was a first meeting between the sides since last season’s UEFA Champions League semifinal which Manchester City won over two legs before going on to lose in the final against Chelsea.
Manchester City were set up to press relentlessly from the first minute, but PSG took the first real chance that came their way inside the opening eight minutes, and they were one goal up.
Manchester City lost the ball in the midfield and few passes between Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi down the right flank ended with Mbappe being released down the channel. The Frenchman crossed in a low ball which was miscued by Neymar but picked up by former Everton man Gueye, who calmly took a touch in the box before arrowing an effort into the top corner to score his first UEFA Champions League goal.
Immediately after PSG got their goal, they retreated into a compact shape, daring their opponents to break them down. Manchester City pressured them successfully, forcing them to lose possession of the ball in dangerous areas and ensuring that the visitors kept creating chances to score.
PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma on his UEFA Champions League debut had to be on his toes to preserve his side’s lead as City’s chief creators continued to fire ball after ball into his box.
On one such occasion, the 22-year-old goalkeeper was beaten twice but had the woodwork to thank for preserving the scoreline. A brilliant cross from Kevin De Bruyne was met by Raheem Sterling, only for his effort to come back off the crossbar onto the leg of Bernardo Silva, whose effort also came back off the crossbar before the ball was finally cleared by Marquinhos.
The Italian goalkeeper also kept out efforts from Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias and Riyad Mahrez as the half wore on, with Manchester City cranking up the pressure as much as they could. PSG were reduced to feeding on scraps and hopeful punts upfield, but were able to keep Manchester City at bay until halftime.
The second half started in the same manner as the first, with Manchester City doing all of the probing and questioning. A moment of hesitation from £100 million man Jack Grealish robbed the Cityzens of a chance to level matters early in the second half. Donnarumma also had to be alert to deny De Bruyne once again.
The first warning sign for Manchester City came in the 65th minute as PSG countered and Hakimi set Neymar free to run at the Manchester City goal. Neymar’s run was tracked all the way by Kyle Walker, and the Englishman forced him to fire his shot into the side netting.
Ten minutes later, however, there was no such mistake from Messi, who had shaken off a knee injury to be part of the PSG squad for the match and scored his first goal for the club in truly spectacular fashion.
A Messi goal for PSG was long overdue, and it came in typical Messi style. After driving towards the heart of the Manchester City defence, Messi exchanged passes with Mbappe before firing a sublime effort passed a stranded Ederson and into the top corner from outside the box in the 74th minute.
It was the diminutive Argentinean’s first goal for a team other than Barcelona, and his 121st career UEFA Champions League goal. It made him the second player in history, after Real Madrid captain Karim Benzema, to score in 17 consecutive seasons of the competition.
The result, combined with Club Brugge’s 2-1 win at RB Leipzig, has put PSG on top of the group with four points alongside the Belgian side. Manchester City occupy third place, with Leipzig bottom after two games.