Champions League hits and misses: Lionel Messi’s brilliance downs Man City and Curtis Jones shines for Liverpool

Messi’s magic lights up Paris

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Lionel Messi celebrates his aim towards Manchester City

Lionel Messi had been a peripheral determine within the second half on the Parc des Princes. But, as Manchester City pushed for an equaliser, he was watching and ready for his second.

It got here within the 74th minute, when, nonetheless positioned inside his personal half on the right-hand aspect of the pitch, Messi collected Marco Verratti’s cross and surged into the house in entrance of him.

By then, it already felt like one thing particular was about to occur.

Achraf Hakimi’s overlapping run distracted Joao Cancelo and Messi charged inside, ghosting previous Aymeric Laporte as if he was not there, bouncing a one-two off the heel of Kylian Mbappe’s proper boot, then firing a superb first-time shot into the highest nook.

  • PSG 2-0 Man City – Match report
  • How the groups lined up | Match stats
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The stadium erupted and the depth of Messi’s celebration betrayed his reduction. He had began slowly in his new environment, failing to attain in his first three PSG appearances then struggling an damage, however now he has actually arrived.

Moments like this are exactly what he was delivered to PSG for, however this was not a classic Messi efficiency.

Also See:

  • PSG 2-0 Man City – Match report
  • Porto 5-1 Liverpool – Match report
  • Champions League outcomes
  • Champions League group tables

There have been some eye-catching passes, most notably the one to launch Nuno Mendes on the break whereas below strain in his personal half within the opening interval, however he didn’t create a single probability over the course of the sport. He solely managed one profitable dribble and didn’t have a single contact in City’s field.

Even in these circumstances, although, stationed out on the suitable and carefully marshalled by one in every of Europe’s greatest defences, Messi discovered a manner. His aim, superbly taken from 20 yards out, got here from his solely shot of the night.

It was a reminder, if it was actually wanted, of the genius that also permits him to settle the most important video games. It was a reminder, too, of how his signing elevates a aspect looking for their first Champions League crown. On this proof they are going to take some beating.
Nick Wright

City lack leading edge

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City had 18 photographs with out scoring towards PSG

There is not any want for Manchester City to panic after this defeat. There are 4 video games to go within the group stage and, having overwhelmed RB Leipzig of their opener, they’re just one level behind PSG.

Pep Guardiola was eager to convey a way of clam in his post-match interview. “Now we are going to eat well tonight, we are going to drink a glass of wine, we are going to recover and we are going to prepare for the game on Saturday,” he stated.

But on the similar time he’ll concentrate on the necessity for his aspect to reveal extra leading edge if they’re to beat Liverpool in Sunday’s Premier League assembly at Anfield.

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At the Parc des Princes, that they had 18 photographs with out discovering the online. Bernardo Silva was most culpable, putting the crossbar from just a few yards out when it seemed simpler to attain within the first half, however he was not the one one who lacked composure when it mattered.

The similar was true of Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne and Ruben Dias, all of whom spurned good alternatives to beat Gianluigi Donnarumma.

There have been different events this season, after all, after they have had no bother ending off their possibilities. But this was a type of performances which exhibits why Guardiola was so eager to signal Harry Kane from Tottenham through the summer time.

Last season, City didn’t fail to attain in any of their first 15 video games of the marketing campaign. This time, it has already occurred 3 times in 9. At Anfield they are going to must be sharper.
Nick Wright

Jones shines as Liverpool thrash Porto

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Curtis Jones was the star for Liverpool within the Champions League

There was no shock that Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have been the scorers in Liverpool’s 5-1 win away over Porto within the Estadio do Dragao on Tuesday. But the id of the gamers who set these objectives up can have happy Jurgen Klopp.

James Milner, Liverpool’s oldest participant, deputising for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, delivered the measured cross that discovered its approach to Mane on the far put up for the second. That apart, it was Curtis Jones, their youngest starter, who was the star of the present.

Jones arrange three of the 5 objectives and did a lot extra, with and with out the ball, to underline his rising significance to this Liverpool workforce. He was the catalyst.

  • Porto 1-5 Liverpool – Match report
  • Champions League outcomes | Group tables

Klopp had been gesturing for his gamers to hurry up the play as they stroked it across the again with the rating goalless halfway via the primary half. Jones did moderately higher than that. Recognising the house was out broad, he drifted looking for it and drove on the defence.

It was a second of high quality and confirmed that the 20-year-old midfielder is ready to do extra than simply play it protected, tick the ball over and wait for the large names to ship. He has that swagger, that urge for food and capacity to make issues occur himself.

Jones can nonetheless do the straightforward stuff too. Yes, there was one languid ball ahead and a failed try to angle a cross in behind when he noticed Salah in house, however these moments stood out for a cause. They have been the one two instances within the first half that he misplaced a cross.

Forty others discovered a team-mate in that 45 minutes, his passing accuracy the very best of anybody on the pitch. His whole of 28 accomplished passes within the opposition half earlier than the interval was additionally greater than anybody else. It was a efficiency that demanded consideration.

Harvey Elliott had a lot of that at first of the season, entering into that place left vacant by Gini Wijnaldum’s exit. Jones is extra acquainted, having already registered over 50 appearances for Liverpool. But on this proof he appears prepared for an even bigger function.

His work for the third aim illustrated that greatest. Winning the ball was nice, working with it was good too, however the presence of thoughts to pick the suitable cross was even higher.

The fourth owed one thing to some depressing goalkeeping after Jones despatched the ball down the left channel extra in hope than expectation however he had achieved properly to retain possession in a good spot earlier than that. He was even concerned within the fifth.

It capped what was a beautiful evening for him. While Milner impresses by sustaining his stage, Jones may simply be discovering a brand new one.
Adam Bate

Sheriff pull off historic shock

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Sheriff gamers and workers have a good time their victory on the Bernabeu

On an evening of excessive drama within the Champions League, Moldovan aspect Sheriff Tiraspol pulled off one of many largest shocks within the competitors’s historical past as they beat Real Madrid 2-1 on the Bernabeu.

Sheriff, who come from the unrecognised breakaway state of Transnistria and upset the percentages to even attain the group stage for the primary time of their historical past, emerged victorious within the Spanish capital because of very good 89th-minute strike from Sebastien Thill.

Earlier, that they had taken the lead because of a header from Uzbek midfielder Jasurbek Yakhshiboev, with Real Madrid requiring a Karim Benzema penalty so as to pull stage.

The Spanish giants peppered the Sheriff aim, trying 31 photographs to the guests’ 4 and having 76 per cent of the possession, however they didn’t take their possibilities and have been punished in sensational model.

Sheriff, who had already surprised Shakhtar Donetsk with a 2-0 win of their opening Champions League recreation, now sit high of Group D with six factors – and a real probability of reaching the final 16.

“It’s hard to explain the game,” stated a surprised Carlo Ancelotti afterwards.
Nick Wright

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