Lionel Messi’s strike confirms the victory of PSG over Manchester City and a new era begins at Paris

September 29, 2021

The blue-chip fixture of the Champions League Match-week 2 would be forever entrenched into the memories of football fans all over the world. Parc des Princes, the home ground of Paris Saint Germain had hosted the love affair that was far long missing from the world of football, and who better to deliver the win over Manchester City than Lionel Messi. Criticism is easy when you are not in the other person’s shoes and when the whole Messi-Ronaldo fiasco had resumed claiming that Ronaldo adapted well to the change as he had declared his return to the Theatre of Dreams with a brace in his first match against Southampton. Well, in the case of Messi his PSG campaign kick-started with three uneventful matches from Leo’s performance point of view but yesterday everything unfolded in the blink of an eye.

And it eventually happened and what a better way to announce his arrival on the Parisian soil. The clock showed 73 minutes and he finally turned up to the challenge. Messi bustled towards the City goal as he took the ball inside the right channel and the City defense line became more alert than ever took to their position. But as he went inside with the ball there was a sense of premonition in the air and miraculously City’s defense was carved out open in front of Messi’s vision and as Kylian Mbappe played the final decoy run and a brilliant cushion to put the ball back in Messi’s path the world seemed to have had stopped for that moment as he struck the ball with the inside of his left foot and it reached the top corner way past Ederson’s reach and at the back of the net.

Messi’s spectacular strike

It was a sensational goal and the place went nuts over it. Everyone seemed to have had lost their minds in the frenzy. Well, people on football grounds always go nuts but the sight that they witnessed last night was luxury at its best. The crowd held their smartphones aloft to capture and savor the experience of it all and that man Lionel Messi was over the moon as the euphoric supporters screamed his name “LIONEL…..MESSI; LIONEL….MESSI; LIONEL…MESSI”.

I’m very happy to have scored,” Messi told Canal+. “I hadn’t been able to play recently and this was only my second game in this stadium. I’m adapting to my new team. The more we forwards to play together the better our relationship will be. We all need to grow together and improve and keep giving our best. They were great opponents. It was very important for us to win the match after our [opening] draw against Brugge. I really wanted to get out there. I haven’t played much. I’m still getting used to my teammates, the team, and today was an important moment.”

Lionel Messi at the post-match press conference

“The goal was fantastic. We know it’s impossible to control Leo during 90 minutes but he was not [too] much in touch with the ball. He was coming back from injury but we know quite well what he can do when he can run and get close to the box: he is unstoppable. We did quite well to reduce those chances.”

Pep Guardiola on Messi’s goal

Although Messi’s strike stole the show in the European Football Week, on the other hand, the goal which broke the deadlock for PSG around the 8th minute was also a splendid piece of work. Mbappe had reached the byline inside the penalty area on the right and cut a low cross back for Neymar in front of the goal who unwittingly cushioned the ball into the path of Idrissa Gueye and the midfielder made no mistake and blasted a powerful shot beyond Ederson and into the far corner of the goalkeepers net.

Idrissa Gueye’s goal

City could have canceled out their lead before half-time but Raheem Sterling’s header hitting the crossbar and Bernardo Silva’s epic miss in front of the goal even after grounding Donnarumma around the 27th minute provided a comedic relief for the PSG fans and a sense of exasperation gathered in the face of Pep Guardiola. The visitors were in processional control for much of the first half but Achraf Hakimi being accompanied by the PSG defense line of Marquinhos, Kimpembe, and Nuno Mendes held the fort to the means that Gianluigi Donnarumma had much less to worry about although he made a string of spectacular saves throughout the night.

Bernardo Silva’s miss

Mauricio Pochetino’s side always had the upper hand when it came to finding spaces behind the City midfield line and the interceptions made by Marco Verratti and Ander Herrera were the ultimate masterstroke this PSG side needed to get their job done. The advent of the second-half brought about some early momentum into Manchester City’s play as Kevin De Bruyne’s fierce shot at the 55th minute was kept at bay by the PSG custodian. Hakimi Vs Grealish had been embarked as one of the key battles of this high-voltage fixture and the prodigies of both clubs proved their point more than any other rival duo in the pitch last night.

Hakimi Vs Grealish

The visitors had created a plethora of opportunities last night but when you give Lionel Messi an iota of space there is only going to be one outcome. Guardiola of all people had known this since his time as the Barcelona coach. He and Messi went on to win 14 trophies including 2 Champions League trophies. The story with this man will always be like the legend and the myths. As far as Manchester City is concerned they were more than capable enough of springing men behind the PSG backline that would have had endured some nervous moments. PSG’s entire threat had originated on counters and that is where Mbappe, Neymar, and Messi thrive.

The Trio of PSG

The Champions League Match-week 2 has been full of surprises so far with Sheriff beating Real Madrid with a scoreline of 1-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu and Athletico Madrid pulling off a last-minute penalty which was converted by Luis Suarez and ultimately lead to defeat AC Milan in the San Siro with a final scoreline of 1-2. We are waiting for some exciting fixtures tonight. Stay tuned for all the latest updates.

TEAM NEWS:

Paris Saint-Germain: Donnarumma, Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Nuno Mendes, Gueye, Verratti, Ander Herrera, Messi, Mbappe, Neymar.
Subs: Navas, Paredes, Icardi, Danilo Pereira, Dagba, Wijnaldum, Kurzawa, Diallo, Draxler, Kehrer, Ebimbe, Letellier.

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Grealish, Sterling.
Subs: McAtee, Stones, Ake, Gabriel Jesus, Steffen, Torres, Fernandinho, Carson, Foden, Wilson-Esbrand.

Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande (Spain)

Star of the Match: Idrissa Gueye.