» Sports » PIX: Messi scores as PSG down City; Real lose to Sheriff

PIX: Messi scores as PSG down City; Real lose to Sheriff

Last updated on: September 29, 2021 11:03 IST
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Images from the UEFA Champions League matches played on Tuesday.

Relief and hope as Messi scores first goal for PSG

IMAGE: Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring PSG's second goal during the UEFA Champions League group A match against Manchester City at Parc des Princes in Paris, on Tuesday. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Lionel Messi scored his maiden goal for Paris St Germain in Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League victory against Manchester City and there was a sense of relief at the Ligue 1 club after the Argentine's stuttering start to the season.


Messi had been unconvincing in his first three appearances since joining on a two-year contract after leaving Barcelona, but on Tuesday, he reminded everyone of his talent.

After a quiet first half, the diminutive forward linked up with Kylian Mbappe and found the top corner to effectively wrap up the win in the 74th minute.

His goal sent the Parc des Princes crowd into raptures and prompted a rare celebration from coach Mauricio Pochettino.

"I've spent 20 years watching him score goals from the other side of the opposite pavement and it's the first time he scores for a team I manage so I had to celebrate," Pochettino said with a smile.

"You need this type of performance and players like him need to feel the back of the net. He needs to create links within the team after 20 years in Barcelona. He's feeling different things, there's a lot of new feelings for him."

IMAGE: Lionel Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi of Paris Saint-Germain celebrate winning their match against Manchester City. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Expectations have been sky high for PSG's attacking trio of Messi, Mbappe and Neymar and Pochettino last weekend had to play down talk of a fallout between the Frenchman and the Brazilian.

While they have yet to hit top gear, Tuesday's game showed promise.

"I am very happy to have scored," said Messi, back on the pitch after sitting out two games with a bruised knee.

"I haven't played much recently. Only one game (at the Parc des Princes), this is the second one here. I am gradually adapting to my new team, to my team mates.

"The more we play together (with Neymar and Mbappe), the better it will be. We must all grow together, increase our level of play. We played well. We have to give our best and continue to do so."

City manager Pep Guardiola, who coached Messi at Barcelona from 2008-12, said his team played well but that it was impossible to keep a lid on a players like Mbappe, Messi and Neymar.

"We cannot control them for 90 minutes. The only way I know - there are two ways actually, is first defend and pray, and the second is to have the ball and create and that's what we did. But we have to create more and be more aggressive," the Spaniard said.

"I wish (Messi) the best, I hope that he's happy and enjoying it here. He made me so happy when we were together."

Real Madrid stunned at home by Moldovans Sheriff

IMAGE: Sheriff Tiraspol's players celebrate after Sebastien Thill scored their second goal against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu, in Madrid. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Real Madrid slumped to a 2-1 defeat by Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol in the Champions League on Tuesday as the visitors pulled off one of the biggest shocks in the competition's history with a stunning 89th-minute strike from Sebastien Thill.

Champions Leagu debutants Sheriff went ahead against the 13-times European champions in the 25th minute with a header from Uzbek midfielder Jasurbek Yakhshiboev, who narrowly missed a chance to double their lead later in the first half.

Real dominated in both halves but needed a penalty to level. Karim Benzema buried his spot-kick in the 65th after Vinicius Jr was felled and awarded a penalty following a VAR review, having been denied after a previous review moments earlier.

Real substitute Luka Jovic spurned a great chance to score but Sheriff quickly went down the other end and following a throw-in the ball fell to Luxembourg midfielder Thill, who unleashed a lethal shot into the top corner on the half volley.

Sheriff, from the unrecognised breakaway state of Transnistria, top Champions League Group D with six points from two games while Real are second with three.

Thill's unstoppable strike gave Sheriff a win that flew in the face of match statistics showing Real had 30 shots on goal to the visitors' four and won 13 corners compared to none for the Moldovan side while the Spaniards had 67% of possession.

"I'm a little sad as I think we deserved to win," said Real coach Carlo Ancelotti.

"You could say we had bad luck, we lost the game on the small details, they scored their goals on the counter-attack and from a throw-in. We had a lot of shots at goal but sometimes luck deserts you in games.

"Everything went well for them, everything went wrong for us."

Sheriff came through four rounds of qualifying to become the first Moldovan team to play in the group phase of Europe’s elite club competition and surprised a highly experienced Champions League side in Shakhtar Donetsk to win their opening game 2-0.

Before kick off the club, founded in 1997, had a mere 6,000 followers on Twitter, contrasting with Real's army of over 38 million on the social media platform.

They faced an unbeaten Real side and were outplayed for most of the game but pulled off the biggest result in their 24-year-history, making the most of few chances and relying on some top-drawer saves from Greek goalkeeper Georgios Athanasiadis.

Real made a strong start and Vinicius and Benzema each went close to giving them the lead, Athanasiadis making the first of many saves to tip a stinging shot from Benzema over the bar.

But Ancelotti's side were outdone on the counter when Cristiano tore down the left wing and crossed to the unmarked Yakhshiboev, who headed into the net.

Real continued to threaten, Benzema and Vinicius each fizzing shots just off target before halftime although Yakhshiboev could have scored again down the other end following a glaring error from home keeper Thibaut Courtois.

The Spaniards looked set to go on to win the game after Benzema levelled from the spot but Sheriff had the ball in the net again through substitute Bruno, although the goal was ruled out for offside.

Luka Modric was then thwarted by Athanasiadis, who saved a thumping shot from the Croatian with his face, before Brazilian forward Rodrygo fired narrowly over the bar.

A Real winner looked inevitable but instead it came down the other end when Thill tried his luck from the edge of the box, scoring the most important goal in his club's brief history.

"We had so many shots, their goalkeeper made a lot of saves and I think you have to congratulate them for scoring two goals," said Real midfielder Casemiro. "We were in control of the game, had many chances and then they scored a wonder goal."

Salah strikes twice as Liverpool thrash injury-hit Porto

Mohamed Salah struck twice as Liverpool sauntered to a 5-1 victory against injury-struck Porto to seize command of a daunting looking Champions League Group B on Tuesday.

A tricky-looking fixture on paper was negotiated with ease by Liverpool who were far superior in every department and helped by a woeful display from Porto keeper Diogo Costa.

Porto were dealt a blow before kickoff as captain and centre back Pepe was injured in the warmup and the hosts were further handicapped when midfielder Otavio lasted only 13 minutes before hobbling off with a hamstring injury.

Liverpool took ruthless advantage with Salah tapping in after a mistake by Costa after 17 minutes and they doubled their lead just before halftime when Sadio Mane scored from close range with Costa again culpable.

Salah made it 3-0 on the hour with a typically neat finish before Porto rallied with Mehdi Taremi heading past Alisson.

Any hope of a late Porto comeback was extinguished, however, when Costa made a mad dash from his goal and substitute Roberto Firmino rolled a shot into an empty net.

Porto's misery was complete when Firmino grabbed his second of the night in the 81st minute.

Liverpool top the group with six points from two games, ahead of Atletico Madrid who have four points.

Last-gasp Suarez penalty earns Atletico victory over 10-man Milan

IMAGE: Luis Suarez grabbed Diego Simeone's side their first win in this season's competition in the 97th minute in dramatic fashion with a stoppage-time penalty against 10-man AC Milan. Photograph: Daniele Mascolo/Reuters

Luis Suarez's stoppage-time penalty and Antoine Griezmann's first goal since returning to Atletico Madrid earned the Spanish side a 2-1 victory over 10-man AC Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Griezmann, who rejoined Atletico last month on a season-long loan from Barcelona, pounced in the 84th minute to level, before Suarez grabbed Diego Simeone's side their first win in this season's competition in the 97th minute in dramatic fashion.

Milan, competing in their first Champions League match in their San Siro stadium since 2014, had looked on course for victory as they held on to the lead given to them by Rafael Leao in the 20th minute, despite Franck Kessie's first-half red card.

But, as the game wore on, Milan retreated further and further back and Griezmann finally made the Atletico pressure count, firing into the bottom corner to level.

Pierre Kalulu was then adjudged to have handled the ball in stoppage time to give Atletico the chance to snatch a dramatic victory at the death, with Suarez converting from the spot to a chorus of boos.

The result leaves Milan without a point at the bottom of Group B, while Atletico are second with four, trailing leaders Liverpool, Suarez's former team, by two points following the Premier League side's 5-1 win over Porto in Portugal.

"I'm very proud to be here," Griezmann said. "I think the fans want to see me like this like tonight. I want to bring them happiness and they’ll be going to bed happy tonight."

Milan supporters had been waiting a long time for this sort of occasion. Atletico were in fact the last side to face them in the Champions League in the San Siro before Tuesday's encounter, back in February 2014, when a Diego Costa goal was enough to earn the Spaniards victory.

The iconic San Siro was abuzz ahead of the match. Stadiums are currently permitted to be only 50% full in Italy, but the majority of those fans were concentrated together in a packed Curva Sud and roared out their team for the warm-up like they had just won the final.

When the Curva unveiled their banner, in English, pre-match, the message was a simple one: "Milan is back".

The raucous crowd, who bellowed out the Champions League anthem with gusto, seemed to give Milan extra energy, as they flew out of the traps early on.

Moments after Ante Rebic should have opened the scoring, Leao did, drilling home to spark wild scenes of celebration in the stands.

That euphoria was short-lived, however, as Kessie was given his marching orders following his second booking for a foul on Marcos Llorente before the half-hour mark, much to the hosts' fury.

"I don't think it was the best evening for the referee," Milan coach Stefano Pioli said. "The numerical inferiority forced us to play another type of match, after the sending off there were many difficulties."

Suarez was looking the most likely to get Atletico level, but it was left to Griezmann, who returned to the Spanish club at the start of the season after being sold to Barcelona for a reported fee of 120 million euros ($141 million) in 2019, to get the vital equaliser.

The drama was not done, however, as referee Cuneyt Cakir, villain of the evening for the home fans, pointed to the spot, before Suarez coolly silenced the San Siro.

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