Mbappe And Messi Double Up In PSG Victory

Paris Saint-Germain's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) is congratulated by Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe (R) after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League first round day 6 Group A football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Club Brugge, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on December 7, 2021. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) is congratulated by Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe (R) after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League first round day 6 Group A football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Club Brugge, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on December 7, 2021. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi both scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain rounded out their Champions League group-stage campaign with a 4-1 thumping of Club Brugge on Tuesday.

Mbappe scored twice in the first seven minutes, the second-fastest double at the start of a game in Champions League history, before setting up Messi to make it 3-0 at half-time.

Mats Rits got one back for the Belgians in the second half but Messi then netted a penalty to make it 4-1 and give PSG a welcome confidence boost in an underwhelming European campaign to date.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side knew before this game that they were heading through to the last 16 in second place in Group A behind Manchester City after losing 2-1 in England last month.

That means a theoretically harder tie against a group winner awaits them in next Monday’s draw, with Liverpool, Ajax, Bayern Munich and Manchester United already potential opponents.

However, with Mbappe on this kind of form and Messi saving his best for Europe, there is still plenty of reason for optimism for Pochettino, who should also have Neymar back from his latest ankle injury by the time the knockout phase begins in February.

Mbappe needed just 73 seconds to open the scoring, following up to finish low into the far corner after Simon Mignolet had saved from Nuno Mendes.

– Mbappe in a hurry –

The France World Cup-winning forward netted again in the seventh minute, showing great technique to volley in from Angel Di Maria’s assist for his 11th goal this season.

The only player to score two quicker goals at the start of a Champions League match is Rodrygo, for Real Madrid against Galatasaray in 2019.

Mbappe, who doesn’t turn 23 until later this month, is a player in a hurry and he is already onto 30 Champions League goals in his career — at the same age Messi had 25 and Cristiano Ronaldo, now the competition’s all-time top scorer, had eight.

It was a stunning burst of pace from Mbappe on the left that led to PSG’s third goal in the 38th minute as he picked out Messi in the middle and the Argentinian advanced to the edge of the box before scoring with a trademark left-foot finish into the corner.

The visitors pulled one back midway through the second half as Noa Lang set up Rits to finish past Gianluigi Donnarumma.

However, with RB Leipzig beating Manchester City 2-1 in the other Group A game, Club Brugge were condemned to finishing bottom and missing out on a consolation Europa League spot.

Messi then made it 4-1 for the Ligue 1 leaders in the 76th minute, converting a penalty he had won himself.

While the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has managed just one Ligue 1 goal in nine appearances since moving to France in August, he now has five in five Champions League appearances for PSG.

Messi moves onto 125 career goals in the Champions League, a tally bettered only by his old rival Ronaldo, who has 140.

Mbappe Takes Centre Stage For PSG In Absence Of Messi, Neymar

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe reacts during the French L1 football match between Stade Brestois and Paris Saint-Germain at Francis-Le Ble Stadium in Brest on August 20, 2021. LOIC VENANCE / AFP

 

Lionel Messi, Neymar and a host of other South American stars are missing for Paris Saint-Germain this weekend but Kylian Mbappe will take centre stage after starring for France in their successful UEFA Nations League campaign.

Messi, along with Leandro Paredes and Angel Di Maria, is with Argentina for their 2022 World Cup qualifier against Peru which was not due to kick off until early on Friday morning, French time.

Neymar and Marquinhos have been with Brazil, due to play Uruguay in a qualifier at the same time.

A third round of South American World Cup qualifiers in quick succession, so close to the weekend, has caused problems for clubs in Europe, where so many leading players are based.

PSG are one of many forced to prepare for matches this weekend without their South American stars, who will not be able to return in time.

“The different federations and FIFA all need to come together so that this type of situation doesn’t happen again,” said PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino when asked about the manic schedule facing his players.

However, he added: “I am not looking for excuses. We have a big squad and it gives a chance to other players.”

Mbappe is available and on a high after scoring two goals and setting up two more as France won the Nations League in Italy.

Mbappe, who scored in the 2018 World Cup final as a teenager, got the decisive goal in last weekend’s final against Spain in Milan.

The 22-year-old’s future remains a subject of much debate with his contract up at the end of this season and Real Madrid waiting in the wings.

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“The club will do everything to keep Kylian,” Pochettino told Spanish radio station Cope this week when inevitably pressed on the matter.

“As coach I would love him to stay here for many years to come.”

In Ligue 1 Mbappe has scored four goals this season with PSG already six points clear of Lens at the top of the table despite seeing their perfect start ended in a 2-0 defeat at Rennes two weeks ago.

After Friday’s game they play host to RB Leipzig in the Champions League in what will be their first European outing since beating Manchester City late last month.

Player to watch: Mohamed-Ali Cho

Cho was born in the Paris suburbs and spent time in PSG’s academy, so it will be a special occasion when he comes up against the capital side with Angers this weekend.

Still just 17, winger Cho is a prodigious talent who has already played in 30 top-flight games.

Cho actually spent much of his childhood in England and represented them as a youth international while on the books at Everton.

However, having signed professional terms with Angers, he has broken into the France Under-21 side at the start of this season and looks to have a very exciting future ahead of him.

Key stats

4 – Mbappe has gone four Ligue 1 games without scoring, his longest drought in France’s top flight since May 2018.

190 – The total number of minutes played in Ligue 1 by Messi since he joined PSG.

17 – The number of goals scored by Lille’s Jonathan David in Ligue 1 in 2021. He is fresh from scoring for Canada in a 2022 World Cup qualifier against Panama on Wednesday.

Fixtures (kick-offs GMT)

Friday

Paris Saint-Germain v Angers (1900)

Saturday

Clermont v Lille (1500), Lyon v Monaco (1900)

Sunday

Troyes v Nice (1100), Bordeaux v Nantes, Brest v Reims, Metz v Rennes, Strasbourg v Saint-Etienne (all 1300), Montpellier v Lens (1500), Marseille v Lorient (1845)

Messi Suffers First PSG Defeat In Loss At Rennes

Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi reacts during the French L1 football match between Stade Rennais (Rennes) and Paris Saint-Germain at the Roazhon Park in Rennes on October 3, 2021. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

 

Lionel Messi suffered his first defeat as a Paris Saint-Germain player on Sunday as their perfect start to the Ligue 1 season ended with a 2-0 loss at Rennes.

The Argentina star smacked the crossbar with a free-kick in the first half at Roazhon Park before Gaetan Laborde volleyed Rennes ahead just before the break with his league-leading sixth goal.

Flavien Tait struck less than 20 seconds after half-time to double the lead for Rennes, with Kylian Mbappe seeing a goal ruled out for offside as PSG’s eight-match winning run in the league this term ended.

“We didn’t start the match well but then we played the best 25-30 minutes of the season. It’s a shame we didn’t score. We conceded two goals that were hard to take,” said PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino.

PSG lost in the league for the first time since April, when they were beaten 1-0 at home by last season’s eventual champions Lille.

“In general, I’m satisfied, we created a lot of chances. Rennes scored with their first and the goal had a big emotional impact,” said Pochettino.

“I don’t like to lose, there’s a bit of anger. To go 2-0 down after a good period… We’re disappointed not to have finished off what we had. It leaves us a bit bitter and disappointed.”

Messi lined up alongside Neymar, Mbappe and Angel Di Maria for just the second match, making only his second league start for PSG after missing the past two Ligue 1 games with a knee injury.

Gianluigi Donnarumma again got the nod ahead of Keylor Navas in goal, having kept a clean sheet midweek in PSG’s Champions League win over Manchester City.

Looking to keep pace with the team that won its opening 14 games under Thomas Tuchel in 2018, PSG created a series of chances midway through the first half — all of which went to waste.

– Woodwork denies Messi –

Neymar skied horribly after the ball broke kindly to the Brazilian inside the Rennes area and Mbappe was guilty of another glaring miss when he scooped over after getting in behind the home defence.

Messi, who bagged a spectacular first goal PSG against City on Tuesday, nearly got off the mark in Ligue 1 but watched his curling free-kick from 25 yards clatter the bar on the half-hour.

Rennes goalkeeper Alfred Gomis crucially stuck out a hand to deny Neymar a tap-in as Di Maria squared across the six-yard box, and PSG paid the price for their missed opportunities on the stroke of half-time.

Kamaldeen Sulemana whipped in a cross from the left which was thumped beyond Donnarumma by Laborde, a deadline day signing from Montpellier.

Rennes, who spent 80 million euros ($92.6 million) on new signings in the summer — more than anyone in France including PSG — caught the visitors cold right at the start of the second half to make it 2-0.

Laborde, released down the right, pulled back for Tait to sweep in first time — the goal upheld after a VAR check for offside, and greeted by a deafening roar from a full house of close to 30,000 once it was confirmed.

Sulemana fired a ferocious drive narrowly over but PSG appeared to have pulled one back when Mbappe squeezed beyond Gomis, only for it to be chalked off upon review.

It could have been worse for Pochettino’s side had a penalty awarded to Rennes not been overturned in the closing stages after replays exonerated Achraf Hakimi from a foul on Laborde.

Instead PSG, who stay six points clear of second-placed Lens, must now reset after the international break that will see Messi and Neymar jet off to South America for a gruelling series of three World Cup qualifiers.

AFP

Messi Scores As PSG Beat Man City 2-0 In Champions League

Paris Saint-Germain’s Senegalese midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye (R) celebrates with Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League first round group A football match between Paris Saint-Germain’s (PSG) and Manchester City at The Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on September 28, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

 

Lionel Messi scored his first goal in a Paris Saint-Germain shirt as they beat visiting Manchester City 2-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday.

After Idrissa Gueye put the hosts ahead in the eighth minute, PSG withstood ferocious City pressure before Messi sealed the victory, firing high into the net from a Kylian Mbappe lay-off to score in his fourth appearance for the club since signing from Barcelona last month.

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s Senegalese midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye (R) celebrates with Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League first round group A football match between Paris Saint-Germain’s (PSG) and Manchester City at The Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on September 28, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

Injured Mbappe Leaves France Squad

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe reacts during the French L1 football match between Stade Brestois and Paris Saint-Germain at Francis-Le Ble Stadium in Brest on August 20, 2021. LOIC VENANCE / AFP

 

Kylian Mbappe has withdrawn from the France squad after suffering a right calf injury and will miss two World Cup qualifiers, the French Football Federation (FFF) said on Thursday.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker felt “pain” in his calf during France’s home draw with Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday.

He underwent examinations on Thursday and returned to PSG before the France squad left on Friday for Kiev, where they face Ukraine on Saturday. They then host Finland on Tuesday in Lyon.

The FFF said Mbappe would not be replaced in the group. Kingsley Coman, an unused substitute on Wednesday, and Anthony Martial are other attacking options for coach Didier Deschamps.

Mbappe has had a hectic few days.

Amid rumours that he was about to move to Real Madrid, he scored both goals as PSG won at Reims on Sunday in a game that marked Lionel Messi’s first appearance for the club.

When the transfer window closed on Tuesday Mbappe was still at PSG.

On Wednesday, he came off in the final minute as 10-man France drew in Strasbourg.

His withdrawal means that between injuries and Covid-19, Mbappe will have missed 10 of France’s last 26 games.

France remain top of Group D, but the loss of Mbappe is an additional blow for Deschamps.

Since the squad assembled on Monday, Dayot Upamecano, N’Golo Kante, Corentin Tolisso, and now Mbappe have all had to leave.

Earlier on Thursday, defender Nordi Mukiele was recalled to fill in for defender Jules Kounde, suspended for the next game after his red card on Wednesday. Matteo Guendouzi and Adrien Rabiot, called up on Wednesday, also arrived on Thursday.

AFP

Messi To Play With Neymar And Mbappe For First Time, Says Pochettino

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (L), Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe (C) and Paris Saint-Germain's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi take part in a training session at the Camp des Loges Paris Saint-Germain football club's training ground in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on August 28, 2021. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar (L), Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe (C) and Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi take part in a training session at the Camp des Loges Paris Saint-Germain football club’s training ground in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on August 28, 2021. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Kylian Mbappe, coveted by Real Madrid, should be in the Paris Saint-Germain squad at Reims, along with Lionel Messi, who could make his debut, and Neymar, coach Mauricio Pochettino said on Saturday.

“We have not yet announced the squad,” the coach told his press conference ahead of Sunday evening’s Ligue 1 match, adding that all the ‘magic trio’ “will certainly be among those named, we will see if they can play from the start of the match.”

Pochettino said Mbappe had not told him he wanted to leave PSG for Real Madrid.

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“Kylian has worked very well in training as usual”, Pochettino said.

As for the striker’s contractual situation, “our president and our sporting director have been clear about the club’s position”, Pochettino added.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi reiterated at the Champions League draw on Thursday that the club had not changed its position and intended to keep Mbappe.

Even without Messi and Neymar, PSG have won all three of their opening league games.

Mbappe Not Unsettled By Speculation Over PSG Future, Says Pochettino

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe attends a training session at the Camp des Loges Paris Saint-Germain football club’s training ground in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on August 19, 2021.
Bertrand GUAY / AFP

 

Kylian Mbappe is “relaxed” and not unsettled despite ongoing speculation about his future, Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino insisted on Thursday.

“Kylian is relaxed, he is our player and I don’t see him being anywhere else this season,” Pochettino told reporters at a press conference ahead of PSG’s Ligue 1 game against Brest on Friday.

Mbappe, 22, has just a year left on his contract in Paris and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, with the speculation intensifying since the arrival of Lionel Messi in the French capital.

In Madrid, Mbappe was on the front page of leading sports dailies Marca and AS on Thursday, with Real apparently hopeful of signing the World Cup winner before the transfer window closes in Europe on August 31.

“This period is part of football,” Pochettino said of the transfer window.

“Lots of things are said and I know from experience that some things happen and others don’t.

“Kylian is preparing for tomorrow’s game. The only conversations I have with Kylian are about football. He has a year left on his contract if he doesn’t renew it. We are happy with him and from what I see he is happy with us too.”

-AFP

‘The Sadness Is Immense’: Mbappe Gutted Over Penalty Miss Against Switzerland

Mbappe is, however, thanking the French fans for their support. Photo: [email protected]

 

French forward Kylian Mbappe has apologised for missing the decisive penalty that sent the world champions out of the Euro 2020.  

Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer saved the Paris Saint Germain (PSG) star’s kick in a penalty shoot-out after the round of 16 game ended 3-3, shattering Didier Deschamps side’s push to become the first team to hold the world and European crowns simultaneously for the second time after a similar feat in 1998 and 2000.

“Very difficult to turn the page. The sadness is immense after this elimination, we could not reach our goal,” the highly-rated youngstar began in an emotional post on his Instagram handle after the encounter in Bucharest, the Romanian capital on Monday night.

“I’m sorry for this penalty. I wanted to help the team but failed. Getting to sleep will be difficult but unfortunately, it is the ups and downs of this sport that I love so much.

“I know you fans have been disappointed, but I would still like to thank you for your support and for always believing in us. The most important thing will be to get up even stronger for the next upcoming deadlines. Congratulations and good luck to Switzerland.”

READ ALSO: England Face Germany In Euro 2020 Blockbuster After France Make Shock Exit

‘Penalties Are Always Cruel’

 

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Les Bleus were coasting home to victory in the game following a spectacular showing from Paul Pogba and Benzema but took their feet off the pedal in the dying minutes, resulting in two quick goals from the Swiss that pushed the match to extra time.

But after 120 minutes, the game went into penalties. The ensuing penalty shootout saw the 2018 World Cup winners losing out 5-4 as the goalkeeper saved Mbappe’s penalty to seal an incredible giant-killing.

“Penalties are always cruel for one team and unfortunately it was us,” said France coach Deschamps. “We are not used to it, but we will have to accept it.”

In the quarter-finals, Switzerland face Spain, who hit back for an epic 5-3 extra-time win against Croatia after blowing the lead in Copenhagen.

England Face Germany In Euro 2020 Blockbuster After France Make Shock Exit

England’s defender Kyle Walker (C) takes part in an MD-1 training session at the team’s base camp in St George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent, on June 28, 2021, on the eve of their UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match against Germany. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

 

 

England can avenge decades of hurt at the hands of Germany when they face their old rivals in a blockbuster Euro 2020 last-16 clash on Tuesday after the tournament was rocked by France’s stunning exit.

Gareth Southgate’s side host Germany at Wembley at 1600 GMT in what is England’s biggest match on home turf for 25 years.

England beat the Germans to win the 1966 World Cup final, but their major tournament history has been littered with painful exits against them since then.

 

Germany supporters pose before the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between France and Switzerland at the National Arena in Bucharest on June 28, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / various sources / AFP)

 

A quarter-final loss at the 1970 World Cup ended England’s reign as champions, while the 1990 World Cup semi-final defeat on penalties is still etched in the nation’s psyche.

When England last played at home in a tournament, Southgate was the Euro 96 fall guy as he missed a crucial penalty in the semi-final shoot-out defeat.

There was also a heavy defeat at the 2010 World Cup yet Southgate, aware of the debilitating weight of that history, insists the tie is not a chance to exorcise the ghosts of past England failures.

Instead, he believe it is a chance for his players to add a memorable new chapter to their personal stories.

“This team, I’ve said for a long time, have had so many unique achievements and my focus is on this team and helping them to succeed,” Southgate said.

“This is about our players. This is their moment and it’s their opportunity.”

– ‘Loser goes home’ –
Asked if perhaps his Euro 96 pain would give his players extra motivation to win it for him, Southgate said: “Good grief, no. I don’t think we’ll be relying on that!

“So, no, this is about them. This is about them having a chance to achieve something, and certainly not for me to take any shine off of that.”

England have never won the European Championship and a victory against Germany would be only their second knockout stage win in the history of the competition.

In contrast, Germany have been crowned kings of Europe three times, with the most recent success coming in 1996.

However, Germany travelled to London in the unusual position of fearing defeat against England.

Joachim Loew’s team stumbled into the last 16 after rescuing a 2-2 draw against Hungary in their final group game.

Germany are not the intimidating force of old and, with Loew stepping down at the end of the tournament, a defeat would signal the end of an era.

Despite winning the World Cup in 2014, Loew has been criticised for his role in a humiliating group-stage exit from the 2018 World Cup and a series of poor results before the Euro.

“All in all, I thought about it for two seconds,” said Loew ahead of potentially his last game.

“This is my passion. My whole focus is on the match and I hope we will succeed.”

England will have the vast majority of a 40,000 crowd on their side at Wembley and Loew expects a spine-tingling encounter.

“This is a match which electrifies everybody. For both teams, it’s in or out, it’s now or never, the loser goes home,” he said.

The winner will face a quarter-final in Rome against the winner of Tuesday’s late tie between Sweden and Ukraine, which will be played in Glasgow.

 

TOPSHOT – France’s forward Kylian Mbappe (L) reacts to his miss as Switzerland’s goalkeeper Yann Sommer celebrates his save during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between France and Switzerland at the National Arena in Bucharest on June 28, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / POOL / AFP)

 

France’s forward Kylian Mbappe reacts after missing a penalty in the penalty shootout during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between France and Switzerland at the National Arena in Bucharest on June 28, 2021. (Photo by Justin Setterfield / POOL / AFP)

 

– Mbappe misses decisive penalty –
Whatever happens on Tuesday it will struggle to live up to the drama of Monday, when world champions France suffered a stunning defeat against Switzerland, losing 5-4 on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw in Bucharest as Kylian Mbappe missed the vital kick.

France trailed to Haris Seferovic’s first-half header and could have fallen further behind when Ricardo Rodriguez’s 55th-minute penalty was saved by Hugo Lloris.

Karim Benzema scored twice in 244 seconds immediately after that miss to put France ahead.

Paul Pogba increased their lead with a stunning strike, but Seferovic struck again in the 81st minute and Mario Gavranovic equalised in stoppage time.

Yann Sommer was Switzerland’s hero in the shootout as the goalkeeper saved Mbappe’s penalty to seal an incredible giant-killing.

“Penalties are always cruel for one team and unfortunately it was us,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.

“We are not used to it, but we will have to accept it.”

 

Switzerland’s goalkeeper Yann Sommer reacts after saving a shot by France’s forward Kylian Mbappe in the penalty shootout during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between France and Switzerland at the National Arena in Bucharest on June 28, 2021. (Photo by Justin Setterfield / POOL / AFP)

 

In the quarter-finals, Switzerland face Spain, who hit back for an epic 5-3 extra-time win against Croatia after blowing the lead in Copenhagen.

Pablo Sarabia, Cesar Azpilicueta and Ferran Torres netted to put Spain 3-1 ahead with 13 minutes left after Pedri’s own goal had given Croatia the lead.

Mislav Orsic and Mario Pasalic scored in the last five minutes to force extra time, but Spain prevailed thanks to goals from Alvaro Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal.

Paris Saint-Germain Beat Monaco To Win French Cup

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian defender Marquinhos (C) celebrates with the trophy after winning the French Cup final football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco at the Stade de France stadium, in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris, on May 19, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

 

Paris Saint-Germain won the French Cup on Wednesday after beating Monaco 2-0 in the final at the Stade de France.

Goals from Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappe won a largely uninspiring final and mean PSG can end the season with the domestic league and cup double.

The French champions have now won the French Cup six times in the last seven seasons having reached the final every year since 2015.

It was also the second trophy of coach Mauricio Pochettino’s managerial career after he won the Champions Trophy for PSG in January.

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar (L), Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian defender Marquinhos, Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian midfielder Rafinha and Paris Saint-Germain’s Portuguese midfielder Danilo Pereira (R) celebrate with the trophy after winning the French Cup final football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco at the Stade de France stadium, in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris, on May 19, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

Monaco meanwhile continue their wait to win the French Cup for the first time since 1991, when they last reached the final.

Niko Kovac’s side have had a positive season and are gunning to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2018.

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe (R) celebrates with the trophy after winning the French Cup final football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco at the Stade de France stadium, in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris, on May 19, 2021. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)
Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe celebrates with the trophy after winning the French Cup final football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco at the Stade de France stadium, in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris, on May 19, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)
Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe (C) celebrates with his teammates at the end of the French Cup final football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco at the Stade de France stadium, in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris, on May 19, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)
Paris Saint-Germain’s players celebrates at the end of the French Cup final football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco at the Stade de France stadium, in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris, on May 19, 2021. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

Champions League: Man City Fight Back To Beat PSG In Semi-Final First Leg

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe reacts as Manchester City players celebrate after winning the UEFA Champions League first leg semi-final football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester City at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on April 28, 2021. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

Manchester City took a huge step towards the Champions League final by coming from behind to win 2-1 at Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday in their last-four first leg.

Marquinhos’ header gave PSG a deserved half-time lead, but Pep Guardiola’s City dominated the second half and goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez turned the game on its head.

Home midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye was sent off late on, but PSG avoided conceding a third to keep their hopes alive ahead of next Tuesday’s second leg in Manchester.

Three Talking Points From PSG 1 Man City 2

Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick 19 minutes from time took Manchester City within touching distance of a first-ever Champions League final as they came from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday.

PSG captain Marquinhos headed the hosts into an early lead, but City composed themselves after half-time to take a firm grip of the tie.

Kevin De Bruyne’s cross found its way into the far corner for a vital away goal to level before Mahrez’s strike found a hole in the Parisian wall.

Look at three talking points from a thrilling first leg:

City learn their lesson

Pep Guardiola’s five seasons in Manchester have been filled with domestic trophies and Champions League collapses.

This is the first time the English champions-elect have even reached the last four under the Catalan coach, but they showed a new maturity on the European stage to ride out the early Paris storm.

City’s previous Champions League exits have been characterised by conceding multiple goals in quick succession.

Despite the early blow of Marquinhos’s towering header, the visitors kept their composure to get to half-time just a goal behind.

Guardiola’s men found their groove after the break, but this time they were the beneficiaries of two defensive mistakes to take control of the tie.

Firstly, Keylor Navas misjudged the flight of De Bruyne’s cross that nestled in the far corner before Mahrez’s free-kick flew through a gaping hole in the PSG wall.

Mbappe and Neymar nullified

PSG’s star duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were too hot for reigning champions Bayern Munich to handle in a thrilling quarter-final, but City showed why they have the best defensive record in the Champions League this season.

Neymar threatened to spark into life early on as his quick footwork teased the City defence, but the centre-back partnership of Ruben Dias and John Stones that has carried Guardiola’s men to the brink of the Premier League title stood firm.

Only once did Mbappe’s pace leave Stones for dead, but Marco Verratti just failed to connect with the French international’s teasing low cross with the chance to double PSG’s lead early in the second half.

There remains plenty for City to do in next week’s second leg, but PSG will need much more magic from the world’s two most expensive ever players if they are to reach a second consecutive Champions League final.

Mahrez makes his mark on homecoming

The Algerian grew up on the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles, but has taken a long and winding road back to scoring the winner of a Champions League semi-final in his home city.

Mahrez was not a star of one of France’s vaunted youth academies and made his way to English football with Leicester from Ligue 2 side Le Havre.

A star of the Foxes’ stunning Premier League triumph in 2015/16, he eventually got his big move in 2018.

Despite costing a then club-record £60 million ($83 million), Mahrez was only a bit-part player in City’s domestic treble triumph in his debut season.

But he has come of age as a City player this season, becoming one of the first names on Guardiola’s teamsheet, while the likes of Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have had to settle for a place on the bench.

All eyes were on De Bruyne when City were awarded a free-kick in a perfect position.

But the Belgian’s confidence in stepping aside for Mahrez proved the right call as his left-footed effort gave City a priceless lead in the battle between two clubs with seemingly bottomless pits of cash to throw at winning this competition for the first time.

Mbappe Double Gives PSG Edge Over Holders Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich’s Austrian defender David Alaba (L) and Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe vie for the ball during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg football match between FC Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in Munich, southern Germany, on April 7, 2021. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

 

 

Kylian Mbappe insisted Paris Saint-Germain still have it all to do after he scored twice in a thrilling 3-2 win at holders Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg, in a repeat of last year’s final.

Bayern had their 19-match unbeaten run ended in the Champions League with their first European defeat since March 2019 as head coach Hansi Flick suffered his first loss in Europe.

PSG raced into a 2-0 lead after just 28 minutes behind closed doors at the Allianz Arena as Neymar created goals for Mbappe and Marquinhos.

Bayern, whose top scorer Robert Lewandowski is sidelined by a knee injury, drew level with headed goals by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Thomas Mueller.

However, Mbappe showed his class with a superb second goal to give the visitors an advantage for the return leg in Paris.

“We used all our chances and had a bit of luck, but nothing has been decided,” Mbappe told Sky, with the return leg to come in Paris on Tuesday.

PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas played a key role with a string of saves as Bayern peppered his goal with 31 shots compared to the French club’s six.

“We have to score a lot more goals,” said Mueller. “If it had ended 5-3 or 6-3 for us, no one could have complained based on the chances.”

“We scored the goals at the right times,” said PSG forward Julian Draxler.

“We had a lot of hard work to do because the way they play is dangerous – with or without Lewandowski.”

This was a record 19th appearance in the Champions League quarter-finals for Bayern, but there was little for the Bavarian giants to celebrate at the final whistle.

– Marquinhos scores and limps off –
Covid-19 cast its shadow over both teams with Bayern winger Serge Gnabry, plus PSG pair Alessandro Florenzi and Marco Verratti quarantined after testing positive.

Heavy snow fell in the first half in Munich as the visitors put the heat on the holders.

The opening goal came after Neymar sprinted through a gaping hole in the defence and laid the ball off for Mbappe, whose shot flew into the net through Manuel Neuer’s legs.

PSG’s Germany forward Draxler had a goal disallowed with Mbappe offside in the build-up as the visitors kept up the pressure.

Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka powered a header into the feet of Navas just before the hosts fell two goals behind.

A clearance kick only got as far as Neymar, whose ball over the top found Marquinhos unmarked in the area to stroke his shot past Neuer, shortly before the PSG captain limped off injured.

Flick responded by bringing on Alphonso Davies to provide pace on the flanks and moved David Alaba into defensive midfield.

The hosts pulled a goal back when Mueller’s cross was headed past Navas by Choupo-Moting to make it 2-1 at half-time.

Neymar and Mbappe had efforts saved off the line, while Leroy Sane went close at the other end for Bayern as both teams had their chances after the break.

Bayern then equalised when Mueller nodded in a superb Joshua Kimmich free-kick on the hour.

However, the wintry night in Munich belonged to Mbappe, who showed his class by turning Bayern defender Jerome Boateng inside and out before driving his shot past Neuer with 22 minutes left.

Bayern went down fighting as Alaba and Mueller both fired agonisingly wide in the dying stages.

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring the 2-3 goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg football match between FC Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in Munich, southern Germany, on April 7, 2021. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)