‘Unstoppable’ Lionel Messi ends his ‘desperate’ search for PSG goal against Manchester City
That was the moment European football had been waiting for – which Pep Guardiola probably knew was “unstoppable”.
Lionel Messi slid forward from the midfield late in the game against Manchester City at Parc des Princes, played one game with fellow PSG Kylian Mbappe and left-footed goalkeeper Ederson hit the spot with a superb shot in the lead. corner.
This was the club’s first goal in his entire career that was not scored for Barcelona and sealed a 2-0 victory For the team that signed him in the first place to lead them to Champions League glory.
And this strike ended 264 minutes without a goal for Messi since his summer move from Spain. Manager Mauricio Pochettino celebrated with a sense of jubilation. Guardiola had seen Messi from close enough to know it was inevitable. Messi himself was very relieved.
“It is true that I was desperate to score my first goal,” Messi told France’s Canal Plus. “I haven’t played much lately and only played once here at home but I’m settling into the team little by little.
“The more we play together, the better our relationship will be. We all need to grow together, improve and continue to give our best.”
The 34-year-old Argentine took more than a month to play his first four games for his new team due to lack of fitness, international duty and then injury.
He failed to score in his first three games for PSG – against Reims, Club Brugge and Lyon – after joining on a free transfer in the summer.
By his standards, that was a drought target.
And Paris Saint-Germain coach Pochettino, Messi’s Argentine teammate, was happy to see it end. “I usually don’t celebrate goals, I keep them to myself,” he said. “But today, for Messi, I did.
“I’ve spent years watching Messi score goals from the opponent’s side – so this time, scoring for my team, that’s great.”
Paris Saint-Germain’s top three, Neymar, Mbappe and Messi – the two most expensive players ever and six-time Ballon d’Or winners – have shown some promising signs.
They played 44 passes between each other in total, nearly 10% of PSG’s total.
The Argentine was influenced by former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, who lost to Messi and Barcelona in the Champions League final in 2009 and 2011.
“You see speed, power, balance and technique to put it in place,” he said on BT Sport. “It was exceptional.
“He’s been on the sidelines of the game, he’s at a new club and he’s feeling his way. Even the stars have to do that. You see the celebrations after the goal, that’s a relief. He’s usually not mobile afterwards.
“We’ve waited and it’s worth the wait for what Messi did tonight.”
“Messi is the man for the big occasion,” said former United and City midfielder Owen Hargreaves. “He always seems to score against Pep Guardiola’s teams.”
It was Messi’s seventh goal in five Champions League matches against teams managed by Guardiola – his former Barcelona coach. No other player has scored as often against Guardiola in the competition.
Former City midfielder Michael Brown was watching the match on BBC 5 live: “The headlines will be Messi and that’s what we expect from the great man.
“He’s back and he’s with PSG.”
Guardiola won two Champions Leagues and three Spanish titles with Messi but he couldn’t guarantee his team would stop one of the game’s greats.
“We know that it is impossible to control Liu in 90 minutes,” he said.
“He wasn’t in contact with the ball much – of course he was coming back from injury, he needed a little bit of rhythm – but we know very well when he can run and get close to the ball, he can’t be stopped.”
Messi is happy to do the dirty work
Messi also caught the eye because of his hard work in the game. Sixteen of the sixty touches were on his own half. He won the ball from Riyad Mahrez on the edge of his box to stop City’s attack.
Even his shot for his goal – which was his only shot – started in his own half.
No PSG player had more successful passes (43) per match.
But the moment – other than the goal – that really caught the eye was when he performed the draft elimination turn for a late free kick Kevin De Bruyne.
This is where the player lies on the floor behind the wall so that the player cannot fire a low free kick. It was a practically invented role to defend Messi’s free kicks.
De Bruyne went high, not low, and his shot was blocked.
“We couldn’t believe it,” Hargreaves said. “He’s one of the greatest ever.”
Ferdinand added: “The moment Mauricio Pochettino asked to do it on the training ground, someone should have walked in and said ‘No no no’.
“If I were in this team, I would say: ‘I will lie down for you.’ Messi does not dirty his set!”
We did everything except the result.
City entered the match on a high after beating European champions Chelsea 1-0 on Saturday.
They had chances – and better – than PSG, hitting the crossbar twice through Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva in one move.
Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved seven saves for Ederson one.
“We did everything except score,” Guardiola said. “They defended deep and were dangerous on the counterattack. My biggest compliments to the team.
“The team was there – like Stamford Bridge. It’s a pity. We played to win. Unfortunately they didn’t need much to score.
“We will eat well tonight, drink a glass of wine, recover and prepare for the Liverpool game on Sunday.”
“They created a lot of chances and I think Pep will say ‘this is football’ and take the positives,” added the former City midfielder.
“He knows it’s not enough or he dies with him being in the group stage. They have a great squad and they will keep going.”
Former City defender Sylvain Destin said: “I think the intensity was strong for City, they didn’t take their chances.
“They had more than enough chances to win that match.”