C1: Paris SG wins by suffering in Haifa
Paris Saint-Germain beat Maccabi Haifa (3-1) thanks to the flashes of their goalscorers Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar but were shaken up in the Champions League on Wednesday.
The streak continues, PSG wins and follows the rhythm of Benfica, their next opponents, winners at Juventus (2-1), at the top of Group H.
A goal and an assist for each other, Messi (37′) and Mbappé (69′) bowed Maccabi, who had scored first through Tjaronn Chery (24′) before Neymar completed a counterattack (88′).
But the Parisians didn’t silence the volcanic Sammy Offer Stadium.
The atmosphere was fantastic, worthy of football’s most famous cauldrons, with incessant chanting and bouncing ultras. Apart from the quarter turn with 1,500 Parisians, almost 100% of the audience wore a Maccabi jersey.
But PSG were less magical, a far cry from the exciting side at the start of the season. Similar to Brest (1-0) on Saturday, Christophe Galtier’s men won after a less than successful joint performance.
– Lack of intensity –
We’ve revisited some bad habits from last season, a slightly soft pace and a long-borrowed “MNM”.
Messi was often countered, Mbappé missed two chances (2nd, 11th) and Neymar was annoyed, annoyed that the German referee Daniel Siebert didn’t take the penalty for a fairly clear contact with Israeli-American goalkeeper Maccabi, Josh Cohen whistled (29th).
PSG even conceded the first goal on a loose ball, poorly played by Marco Verratti for Sergio Ramos. Dolev Haziza’s cross caught the left foot of Suriname Tjaronn Chery.
Leo Messi equalized after a cross from Mbappé. The Argentinian star will have scored in the… 18 Champions League seasons he has played. A record.
But the lack of intensity of the Galtier team made the Greens twice more dangerous, with a cross from Atzili (43′) and above all a new powerful shot from Chery, which was nicely boxed by Donnarumma (45’+1′).
The Italian keeper also deflected a fierce shot from Mohammad Abu Fani (11′).
Maccabi proved dangerous again, a goal deflected by Pierre Cornud, one of Maccabi’s French… by teammate Frantzdy Pierrot (52′).
– Mbappe joins Cavani –
Then PSG brought some momentum back into play: Cornud got the ball just before Nordi Mukiele after a shot by Messi deflected by Cohen (64′).
And a pass from the left of the “Pulga” got Mbappé to one of his wrapped cross shots, which he rarely misses.
The world champion scored his 30th C1 goal for PSG there, joining Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani.
The crowd never gave up at 2-1, but Maccabi lost significant ground despite their loyalty to the offensive rules of their coach Barak Bakhar, who had promised not to let up.
Omer Atzili, the dashing green-haired winger who played against his idol Neymar and injured Nuno Mendes, or ‘Pierrot’ as the public calls the Haitian striker, and Chery ran out of good balls.
The show died down. A spectator entered the field and approached Messi until he bumped into him a bit before being overpowered by the stewards.
Achraf Hakimi replaced Mukiele and was booed by the audience for his previous pro-Palestinian stance.
Then Neymar, who was below his stratospheric level at the start of the season, allowed us to talk football again. The Brazilian secured his team’s victory by counterattacking a beautiful opening by Verratti. A nice end to a difficult evening.
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