A second half Lionel Messi brace helped PSG fight back from a 2-1 deficit to seal a 3-2 win over an energetic RB Leipzig side on Tuesday night.
The hosts avoided an early scare as Christopher Nkunku raced through on goal and rolled the ball for Konrad Laimer, who released a hesitant shot straight to Keylor Navas. Andre Silva then headed the ball straight into Navas’s arms from a cross by Laimer.
Leipzig pressed high and moved the ball swiftly in an attempt to generate space for their advancing wing-backs. Meanwhile, PSG would turn to the gaps behind them, hoping to get Kylian Mbappe through into the open channels. Within 10 minutes, PSG punished the visitors for their wastefulness in front of goal with a rapid counter-attack that Mbappe finally finished.
Leipzig upped the ante thereafter, as Andre Silva hit the crossbar with a half volley before eventually scoring minutes later, emerging at the back post to turn in Angelino’s low cross. Leipzig were the stronger side going into half-time and seized the lead early in the second half, with Angelino once again providing the assist, this time a swerving cross for Nordi Mukiele to tap in past Navas.
PSG made a disastrous start to the second half, but a moment of brilliance bailed them out in the 66th minute, with Mbappe and Messi combining to perfection to level the score. Mbappe was then taken down in the area by defender Mohamed Simakan, and Messi scored again with a beautiful Panenka penalty kick that made Peter Gulacsi look ridiculous and star-struck.
Leipzig brought on additional attacking forces to salvage something from the game, but PSG held firm for three points, even as Mbappe squandered a chance to make it 4-2, blasting his own spot-kick over the bar. After their thrilling win, The Hard Tackle will now run the rule over Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
Keylor Navas: 6/10
Made several important stops early on to deny RB Leipzig an early lead. He came to PSG’s rescue on several occasions but was helpless for any of the well-worked goals from Leipzig.
Achraf Hakimi: 6.5/10
Highly disappointing. Defending was, at times, terrible as he left a lot of space behind him for Emil Forsberg and Christopher Nkunku to pounce upon, and despite spending a lot of time in the opposition half, he had little influence. Hakimi improved after the break, was decent at winning ground duels while having a good shot at goal and earned a late penalty with a bombing run.
The PSG skipper has had better evenings on the pitch than the one on Tuesday. Mostly reliable, he was uncharacteristically dispossessed quite easily for Leipzig’s Andre Silva equaliser. Marquinhos did decent work at holding the backline together, but the cohesiveness and communication were lacking on the day.
Presnel Kimpembe: 5/10
Incredibly shaky. Poor marking for Leipzig’s goal – one of the numerous careless moments. The defence had to be more vigilant when the ball came in from crosses, but there were several errors when Leipzig threatened the flanks, resulting in two goals against PSG. The Bundesliga side exquisitely used this vulnerability, overloading the wings, but Kimpembe did well later.
Nuno Mendes: 6/10
For a 19-year-old to start every Champions League game for a star-studded PSG side is a standout feat in itself, but Nuno Mendes had the worst game imaginable. Throughout the game, he performed dreadfully, losing far too many duels to Nordi Mukiele, resulting in possession loss on several occasions. His passing was inaccurate, and he did not appear to be very confident on the ball either.
Ander Herrera: 6.5/10
The former Manchester United midfielder had a decent game overall. He participated effectively in the middle, making several nice passes and interceptions, but he was unable to have a significant impact on the game before getting substituted early on by Georginio Wijnaldum on the hour mark.
Marco Verratti: 7.5/10
Marco Verratti vs RB Leipzig:
90' mins played
84.8% passes completed
66.67% accurate long balls (2/3)
60% successful dribbles (3/5)
76.9% duels won (10/13)
33.3% aerial duels won (1/3)
2 key passes pic.twitter.com/o9TMHG0hlX
— Ihab #Oleout ? (@Scout_ManUtd) October 19, 2021
Elegant. Verratti proved to be PSG’s spine on the day as he was simply sensational with his ridiculous passing ability and kept the ball moving on almost every occasion. Some nice moves, but the ball needs to be moved forward more quickly in the first half.
He improved dramatically after the interval, giving the creative impetus for the comeback. Verratti also made three vital blocks from incoming shots, made crucial clearances and interceptions, and performed admirably in tackles and ground duels.
Idrissa Gueye: 6/10
Quite a poor display from the former Everton destroyer. Gueye lost the ball carelessly several times and was fortunate to not be punished. There was also some wild tackling and hassling, giving away needless free-kicks in dangerous positions. On the whole, Gueye had a difficult game. He had little success in the ground duel challenges he committed to and was hooked off on the hour mark.
Lionel Messi: 8/10
Despite netting two goals and winning the crunch tie for PSG with an astonishing Panenka, Lionel Messi did not have a fine game by any means. He was mostly a background figure, but he came alive when it counted, combining wonderfully with Mbappe to equalise before chipping in from 12 yards.
7 dribbles, 5 shots, 3 shots on goal, 2 goals, and a 91 percent pass accuracy. Messi carried the ball effectively and nearly always retained the team in possession when too many of his teammates were losing it cheaply or spending too much time on the ball to destroy any momentum. However, there are encouraging signs of his blossoming partnership with Mbappe.
Lionel Messi's game by numbers vs RB Leipzig:
91.2% pass accuracy
9 duels won
7 dribbles (most)
5 shots (most)
4 ball recoveries
2 fouls won
2 goals (most)
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 19, 2021
Julian Draxler: 7/10
There were some nice touches, but it was mostly anticipated. Played his part in two goals. Draxler assisted for Mbappe’s opener, driving the ball through midfield before laying it to the Frenchman, who subsequently took the responsibility and turned it into a fantastic goal. One of the better games from the former Schalke winger.
Kylian Mbappe: 8/10
The Frenchman took the bulls by horns by taking on the keeper himself despite having Draxler as an option. He sent Gulacsi the wrong way and slammed the ball into the bottom-left corner to put PSG 1-0 up front.
In particular, Mbappe struck up an intriguing partnership with Messi and laid the ball perfectly for the leveller. He had a chance to double his goal tally late on, but he blew it by shooting the spot-kick well-above over the crossbar.
Danilo Pereira: 5/10
Danilo produced a few excellent clearances while also competing in aerial duels, which he won handily.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6/10
Wijnaldum was able to bring additional balance and dynamism to his side. He burst forward late on, but there was no one for his support. It is odd that he does not start regularly.
Thilo Kehrer: N/A
Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
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