PARIS: Kylian Mbappe and a vintage-fit Lionel Messi both scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain crushed Israel’s Maccabi Haifa 7-2 on Tuesday to secure a place in the last 16 of this season. Champions League with a group match to spare.
Neymar was also on target, and the Brazilian also forced an own goal from Maccabi defender Sean Goldberg before Carlos Soler completed the rout as the Parisians netted seven times in a Champions League game for the first time since November 2017.
victory means PSG qualified from Group H with Benfica, although it will be up to the final matchday next week to decide who will advance to first place and therefore benefit from a theoretically more favorable draw in the next round.
Maccabi Haifa, who saw Senegal defender Abdoulaye Seck score both goals, are out with Juventus but the Israeli champions could still propel the Italian giants to third place and Europa League football after the Cup break of the world.
The upcoming tournament in Qatar is surely a factor in the exceptional form of Messi and Neymar at the start of the season in particular, and together with Mbappe they have turned on the style to leave Maccabi regularly dazed and confused in defence.
Mbappe’s latest goals – his fifth and sixth in the Champions League this season taking him to 16 in all competitions – came a day after reports emerged in France of the jaw-dropping details of his new contract at PSG.
Le Parisien newspaper reported on Monday that the Qatari club are paying the French striker a total of 630 million euros ($627.8 million) before tax over the length of the three-year contract he signed in May .
The net sum would be slightly less than half of this amount. The reported figures are higher than the €555m gross Messi, according to Spanish daily El Mundo, earned in his last four years at Barcelona.
After a difficult first season in Paris, Messi now looks more like the player he was in Catalonia and he opened the scoring here in the 19th minute.
Mbappe fired the ball back to the Argentine who took a throw-in before sending a shot past keeper Josh Cohen and into the far corner of the net with the outside of his left boot.
Mbappe then needed treatment after being sent crashing into the billboards by Seck, but he quickly recovered to make it 2-0 just after the half-hour mark with a fine curling strike in the same corner.
It was from virtually the same spot in the box that Neymar made it 3-0 after being set up by Messi, but the Israelis then pulled one back as Seck headed for a dead ball from Omer Atzili .
Then came what was probably the standout goal of the night, as Messi linked up brilliantly with Mbappe before forcing his way into a shooting position and burying a shot into the bottom left corner.
It was his 11th goal of the season, meaning he has now equaled his tally for the whole of last campaign.
The goals kept coming after half-time, but not for Messi.
Seck scored a second goal with a looping header over Gianluigi Donnarumma but Mbappe then made it 5-2 by controlling Achraf Hakimi’s cross and firing a superb shot into the far corner on the left side of the box.
The unfortunate Goldberg gave PSG their sixth and Messi smashed a shot over the bar before substitute Soler sealed the victory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *