Two fine first half goals from Kylian Mbappe get Paris Saint-Germain off to the perfect start in the Champions League with a 2-1 win over Juventus in their Group H opener.
PSG’s primary ambition to win the Champions League this season got off to a flyer in their opening game as the club’s talisman ensured it would be a straightforward night for the hosts at the Parc des Princes.
Just six minutes into the game and PSG were ahead as Neymar and Mbappe combined for a slickly executed goal. Neymar played a dinked ball over the Juve backline which landed into the path of Mbappe who volleyed his right-footed effort into the bottom corner.
Gianluigi Donnarumma made a stunning reflex save to deny Arkadiusz Milik’s header in the 18th minute before Mbappe extended PSG’s lead four minutes later. This time Mbappe played a rapid one-two with Achraf Hakimi before smashing his shot home.
Juventus pulled a goal back early in the second half through substitute Weston McKennie. In the 53rd minute, the American nodded in a Filip Kostic cross to give Juve a lifeline.
Juve sensed sending crosses into the box could be their route back into the match and they almost got another when Dusan Vlahovic met Juan Cuadrado’s inswinger four minutes later, but Donnarumma was able to parry it away to his right.
Juventus were not able to carry their momentum further. PSG dominated possession afterwards, their best chance being Mbappe firing narrowly wide in the 64th minute, before safely securing an opening round victory.
TALKING POINT – PSG WERE AT THEIR VERY BEST
Questions will continue to be asked about whether PSG have the mental fortitude and the capability to play at the required intensity to win the Champions League this season. Against Juventus, the hosts were excellent on and off the ball.
PSG’s star-studded front three were not afraid to do the necessary defensive work against an overwhelmed Juventus side, while also displaying moments of scintillating football in front of their home fans. It looks like Christophe Galtier’s methods are working.
PSG played like a Champions League winning team against Juventus. Will they be able to consistently do so in Europe for the remainder of this campaign? Time will tell. It’s only one game after all.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – KYLIAN MBAPPE
The 23-year-old scored two goals in the first half and was a constant threat, combining brilliantly with Neymar and Messi throughout the game.
He looked a man undeterred by accusations that his France colleague Paul Pogba used a witch doctor to cast a spell on him.
PSG: Donnarumma (8), Hakimi (7), Ramos (6), Marquinhos (6), Kimpembe (6), Mendes (7), Verratti (6), Vitinha (6), Messi (8), Neymar (8), Mbappe (9)
Subs: Mukiele (N/A), Danilo (N/A), Soler (N/A), Sanches (N/A)
Juventus: Perin (7), Bremer (5), Bonucci (5), Danilo (5), Cuadrado (6), Miretti (4), Paredes (5), Rabiot (5), Kostic (6), Milik (6), Vlahovic (6)
Subs: McKennie (7), Locatelli (6), De Sciglio (6), Kean (N/A)
6′ – GOAL! Mbappe fires PSG in front! A beautiful flick over the top from Neymar finds Mbappe who drives a right-footed volley into the net beyond Perin. It’s seven goals in six matches for Mbappe. PSG off to the perfect start!
18′ – WHAT A SAVE! Donnarumma keeps PSG in front! Cuadrado’s excellent cross into the penalty box from the right is met by Milik. He leaps high into the air and meets it, but Donnarumma is there to parry it away! Easily Juventus’ best chance of the match so far.
22′ – MBAPPE EXTENDS PSG’S LEAD! Mbappe gets his second of the night! It’s fantastic build-up play again. Mbappe and Hakimi play a rapid one-two before the striker smashes his perfectly executed shot into the bottom corner. PSG extend their lead! Mbappe already has nine goals this season.
53′ – GOAL! JUVENTUS HAVE RESPONDED! Out of nowhere Juventus score and McKennie gives the Serie A side a lifeline! An excellent outswinging cross from Kostic on the left flank finds the Texas-born midfielder, Donnarumma is left stranded and the American nods it into the empty net. Juventus are back in this!
57′ – CRUCIAL SAVE FROM DONNARUMMA! Cuadrado’s cross finds Vlahovic at the near post who nods on goal, forcing Donnarumma into a diving save to his right. Juventus are putting PSG firmly to the test here.
64′ – WIDE FROM MBAPPE! It’s stunning football from PSG’s star-studded front three. Neymar backheels the ball to Messi who threads an inch-perfect pass through to Mbappe in the box. The Frenchman strikes off his left foot looking for the bottom corner, but he scuffs his strike slightly and it bobbles out for a goal-kick.
89′ – BIG SAVE FROM PERIN! Neymar fires a ferocious volley on goal from just a few yards out, forcing the Juve goalkeeper into a stinging save!