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Lionel Messi scored a second-half brace as PSG edged out RB Leipzig 3-2 in Paris on Tuesday night. Mauricio Pochettino’s side took the lead through Kylian Mbappe before being pegged back by goals from Andre Silva and Nordi Mukiele. They came back strongly in the second half to get all the three points and grab top spot in a highly competitive group A.



The first half started well with both sides having sighters in the opening few minutes. Keylor Navas saved from Konrad Laimer before Julian Draxler shot over for PSG. Navas was called into action again when he had to make a sharp double save from Andre Silva and Laimer again.

It was the hosts who got the breakthrough in the ninth minute when Mbappe finished smartly past Peter Gulacsi after isolating Willy Orban on the counterattack. PSG continued to threaten on the counter, finding it easy to play through the Leipzig midfield.



As the German side grew into the game, PSG found the space closing up and Ander Herrera in particular struggled. Angelino, playing as the left wing-back for Leipzig, found a lot of joy up against Achraf Hakimi. Nordi Mukiele had a good chance from a free-kick and Silva saw his sharp shot bounce back off the post.

Jesse March’s men were knocking on the door and it wasn’t long before they got the goal they deserved. Angelino again found himself in acres of space and he squared for Silva to smash the ball past Navas.

Leipzig continued to dominate with PSG relying on Mbappe on the break to provide an attacking threat. It could have been worse for the Parisiens with Christopher Nkunku getting two good chances just before the break. The Frenchman really should have done 

better, failing to hit the target on both occasions.



March’s men continued to be on top after the interval and took the lead just before the hour mark. Angelino was the provider once again as he crossed to Mukiele, who drifted in from the right wing unmarked to volley the ball home.

The goal sparked Pochettino into action as he took out Gueye and Herrera for Danilo and Wijnaldum. PSG improved and got the equaliser thanks to some sublime interplay between Messi and Mbappe. A quick-one two allowed the Argentinian to tap the ball past Gulacsi who was unable to save despite getting a hand to it.



The duo were on the spot again for the winner as Mbappe drove at Mohamed Simakan and drew a foul. Messi took charge of the penalty and scored a delightful panenka to leave Gulacsi helpless.

Leipzig failed to put any sustained pressure on for the equaliser and PSG saw it out fairly comfortably. There was even enough time for Mbappe to sky a penalty in injury time after Hakimi was brought down by substitute Josko Gvardiol.

Here are our key takeaways from the match – 



PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino has been struggling to fit in all of his three star attackers in a cohesive lineup and Neymar’s injury was a blessing in disguise for the Argentinian. Poch did change things up with his starting eleven structurally even though the only change in personnel was Julian Draxler, who came in for Neymar.




Idrissa Gueye was used as an eight, primarily from PSG’s left hand side, which allowed Nuno Mendes to go forward at will. Gueye covered for the young Portuguese left-back who was arguably his side’s most threatening player after Mbappe in the first half. The front three also looked much more fluid, with Messi and Draxler drifting in and Mbappe pulling out wide.

Messi and Mbappe combined for two goals, to add to their second against Manchester City on matchday two, which leaves Pochettino with a problem on his hands when Neymar is fit and available again.



PSG might have won the match but there were glaring shortcomings of the side down the wings. Neither of the front three tracked back which left Hakimi and Mendes isolated. The full-back pair themselves are primarily attack-oriented and it was the midfield that had to leave space in the center to cover out-wide.



However, it wasn’t very effective as the Leipzig wing-backs were on the mark all night. Angelino has been in sensational form since his move to Germany and provided the assists to both the goals, the second of which was to Mukiele, his opposing number on the right. March’s side provided a template on how to attack against PSG which can help a better team in the coming stages.



It was always going to be a transitory season for Leipzig who lost their manager, captain and star center back to Bayern Munich the summer. However, it was expected that Jesse March would bring some creativity to the side which has not materialised so far.



Last season’s Bundesliga runners-up currently lie 8th in the league table and have no points on the board in the Champions League. The Red Bull operation is known for being very structured and methodical but the pressure must be mounting on March. His job may not be under threat right now but his team needs to start performing soon.


Ritwik Khanna
Economics student supporting FC Goa and Manchester United, in true masochistic way. Can be found reading Jonathan Wilson and Sid Lowe or planning a quirky trip in his free time.

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