Great Britain
This article was added by the user Anna. TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Lionel Messi’s Panenka wins it for PSG after RB Leipzig threaten upset

It might sound strange, but despite scoring two goals and winning the game for Paris Saint-Germain with an outrageous Panenka, Lionel Messi didn’t really have a very good game here. Still, nobody at a festive Parc des Princes seemed to mind too much. After looking wooden and curiously passive for an hour, Paris came to life in the last 25 minutes, beating an impressive Leipzig side despite having little cohesion, not much in the way of a tactical plan but two of the most irresistible attackers on the planet.

With three defeats out of three, Leipzig are now virtually eliminated, and for all their spirit and running, the spotlight will now fall on their new coach Jesse Marsch after an indifferent start to the season.

By contrast, you suspect even Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t really know how good this Paris side is. The attacking combinations are still being drilled, and occasionally the defence looks as though it wants to run and hide. In the meantime, just savour the entertainment.

Even from the early stages you could sense that both teams were there to be got at, and both knew it too. The game began at a rattling pace, without formalities, each perfectly aware of what to expect from the other. Leipzig pushed high and got the ball forward quickly, trying to create space for their attacking wing-backs.

Paris, meanwhile, would look to the spaces in behind, trying to release Mbappé into the open channels. And it was from just such an opening that Mbappé got his early goal.

It was not without contention. As Mbappé sank to his knees and gurned for the cameras, Leipzig’s players howled for a foul by Messi on André Silva in the build-up. But there was a pure, breathtaking class to the way Paris simply moved the ball from the edge of their own penalty area to the back of the Leipzig net in just two passes and a shade over 10 seconds.

The goal came via a smart low finish at the end of one of those terrifying, prowling Mbappé dribbles in which the defender – Willi Orban this time – is almost paralysed with indecision and so ends up being led into a sort of doomed dance. The goal itself was greeted with the imperial assent of a crowd that – without wanting to put too fine a point on it – is used to going 1-0 up an awful lot.

Perhaps the only consolation for Leipzig was that chasing the game required little change in style. Actually, there was another: PSG will generally always give you a chance.

This is, after all, a team that have kept just four clean sheets in 14 games this season.

And even as several good opportunities came and went to Konrad Laimer and Silva (twice), there simply wasn’t the same sort of jeopardy you get when you miss a chance against, say, Chelsea.

Slowly Leipzig were beginning to feel their way into the game, find the spaces, manoeuvre Paris’s overworked midfield three out of position. And shortly before the half-hour, they were able to stroll the ball up the pitch and work it unfussily from right to left, where Angeliño put in one of his trademark early crosses for Silva to finish from a tight angle. It had been coming.

After a short truce at the end of the first half, Leipzig made their move at the start of the second. Again it came on the counter, the ball spread left to Angeliño, the penalty area packed with white-shirted runners.

It was Nordi Mukiele, the Parisian native, who volleyed in Angeliño’s delicious cross, and all of a sudden the heat was on Pochettino. But with precious few attacking alternatives on the bench – Neymar was injured, Angel Di Maria, Messi’s compatriot, suspended – he could change personnel but not the system.

What of Messi? These hectic hard-running games no longer really suit his style: it’s worth remembering that his last game against Bundesliga opposition ended in an 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich. He had just one touch in the Leipzig penalty area in the first half.

Still, all genius needs is a glimpse, and after bundling the ball in from close range after an unselfish pass from Mbappé he added the coup de grace seven minutes later: an irreverent dinked penalty after Mohamed Simakan had pushed Mbappé over in the area.

A late penalty offered the chance of a hat-trick; instead, with a cordial glance, Messi handed the ball to Mbappé, who blasted it over.