Paris Saint-Germain survived a scare as they fell behind to Maccabi Haifa before their big three hit the net to give them victory.
Once more, the PSG defence look susceptible in the first half and their Israeli opposition did well squeezing space for the superstar opposition in attack and hitting on the counter-attack.
The opening goal was a wonderful finish from Tjarron Chery volleying home Dolev Hazizia’s pin-point cross with an outstretched left leg after 27 minutes.
The lead held until eight minutes before the break when Kylian Mbappe beat his man before drilling a ball into the six-yard box which fell for Lionel Messi to control on his thigh and then slot home.
The crucial goal came midway through the second-half when Mbappe raced onto Messi’s through-ball and finished with trademark precision inside the far corner.
With two minutes on the clock, Neymar latched onto a long pass from Marco Veratti and drilled home a low shot to rubber-stamp victory.
Same quandary faces Galtier as his predecessors – They are never not a good watch -as nine away games on the trot with at least three goals attests. But the question remains: can you win a tournament with three passengers out of possession? There is no shortage of quality in the back seven at PSG but it doesn’t matter who they play, they look capable of conceding multiple goals. And how much would dropping Neymar and putting in an extra midfielder help with this situation? It is unlikely we will find out.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Lionel Messi (PSG): This should be his 65th man of the match award in the Champions League and follows on from one at the weekend in Ligue 1. There are still times when yu think the old Messi would have done better with a shot at goal or beating the last man but whereas Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have periods in game where their dazzle fades, Messi looks a danger whenever he has the ball at this feet. The bare stats of a goal and an assist show his importance but there was much more than this.
Maccabi Haifa: Cohen 6; Sundgren 6, Batubinsika 6, Goldberg 6, Cornud 7; Chery 7, Lavi 6, Abu Fani 6; Atzili 6, Pierrot 7, Haziza 6.
Subs: Seck 6, David 6, Rukavytsya 6, Tchibota 6.
PSG: Donnarumma 6; Ramos 6, Marquinhos 6, Danilo 6; Mukiele 6, Verratti 6, Vitinha 6, Mendes 6; Messi 8*; Mbappe7, Neymar 7.
Subs: Ruiz 6, Hakimi 6, Soler 6,
24′ GOAL FOR MACCABI! You can’t say its undeserved. A wonderful cross from the right flank from the right flank from Hazizia and an even better finish with an outstretched left leg from Chery.
33′ GOAL FOR MACCABI – NO! Pierrot was played through the middle and he took his time, holding off a challenge from Marquinhos, before lifting the ball over the keeper. But it was all for naught as he was just offside.
37′ GOAL FOR PSG! Messi equalises for the visitors. He played a ball wide for Mbappe who skinned the full back before lasering a low ball into the six-yard box which deflected to Messi and he controlled on his thigh before slotting home.
69′ GOAL FOR PSG! A typical PSG goal. Lovely through-ball from Messi to the fleet-footed Mbappe who, in trademark style, opens his body and gives the keeper no chance shooting into the far corner.
88′ GOAL FOR PSG! Maccabi Haifa allow Neymar to latch onto a long ball from Verrati and Neymar brings it down before drilling low home with his left foot.