If the score could suggest a victory won quite easily by Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG), it was more laborious on the ground. Jostled by Maccabi Haifa, Wednesday September 14, during their second match of the group stage of the Champions League, the Parisians relied on the talent of their attacking trio – Messi-Neymar-Mbappé – to find the fault and bring back the three points of their trip to Israel (3-1).
Facing the supposedly weakest team in Group H, the long-awaited clear dominance of PSG did not happen. Surprised by the intensity, desire and technical accuracy of their opponents, the Parisians took time to get into the game.
They were warned, repeatedly, by dangerous opportunities from the Israeli team. And while Kylian Mbappé missed his duels with the goalkeeper, Maccabi was quick to open the scoring; taking advantage of a porous defense, Tjaronn Chery pushed the ball into the back of the net and set the Sammy Ofer Stadium on fire even more (24e).
Undoubtedly awakened by this goal, the Parisians started again. In difficulty until then and well caught in marking, Lionel Messi proved to be opportunistic to take back a blocked shot from Mbappé and equalize (37e). Not enough to make people forget this dull first period for the Rouge et Bleu, lacking control, with a lot of lost balls and a lot of smugness in transmissions.
Messi as a detonator
The situation did not improve upon returning from the locker room, facing Haifaians reassembled and determined to put in difficulty one of the contenders for the trophy. Too wait-and-see, the Parisian defense suffered several occasions, before Messi sounded the revolt.
Less marked in the pants than in the first period, by opponents perhaps more physically borrowed, the Argentinian had time to turn around, progress with the ball and raise his head to serve Kylian Mbappé, author of the second goal (69e). Finally, to complete this sham victory, Neymar came to add a third achievement (88e).
“I think we started well, we put some intensity, but we got a little sleepy, analyzed Kylian Mbappé after the meeting, at the microphone of Canal +. Then we reacted well and we put our game in place. It is true that this attacking trio, you have to know how to take advantage of it. I hope that all three of us will continue to score, that means we will win the matches.”.
These three Parisian goals in any case allow PSG to win a first victory in six trips to the Champions League, and to retain first place in Group H, tied with Benfica, who defeated Juventus Turin (2-1).