Paris Saint-Germain Begins Champions League Campaign with a Bang
Striker Kylian Mbappé continued his remarkable scoring streak, while right-back Achraf Hakimi also found the net as Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) opened its Champions League campaign with a convincing 2-0 home win against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
In the 49th minute, Mbappé broke the deadlock with a confidently converted penalty, following a video review. Referee Jesús Gil Manzano upheld his decision, ruling that defender Niklas Süle had handled the ball from Mbappé’s shot. The French striker calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner, just out of the reach of goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, securing his eighth goal in just five games this season. This extended his club-record tally to an impressive 220 goals in 265 games.
Only nine minutes later, Kobel was once again left helpless as Hakimi orchestrated a well-executed move, exchanging passes with midfielder Vitinha before cutting inside a defender and curling the ball into the bottom left corner with the outside of his right foot.
Reflecting on the match, 23-year-old Portugal international Vitinha, in his second season with PSG, stated, “It’s a very important game for us, we’ve started the competition well. It’s important for me as well. I want to help the team even more in the upcoming matches.”
AC Milan Held to a Goalless Draw
In the other Group F game, seven-time European champion AC Milan struggled to convert chances in a goalless draw against Newcastle. PSG, a team that has never won the Champions League, made a substantial effort last season with superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar in their attack, yet they were eliminated in the last 16 for the second consecutive year. This disappointing performance led to the dismissal of coach Christophe Galtier and the appointment of former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique.
Luis Enrique expressed his thoughts on the match, saying, “We needed to do better in the last 15 minutes of the match, but otherwise, it’s pretty much a perfect night.”
When Luis Enrique assumed his role as head coach, he faced a challenging situation. Messi and Neymar had left PSG, leaving only Mbappé from their star-studded attack. However, the team welcomed forward Randal Kolo Muani, who made his debut after a €95 million ($103 million) transfer from Eintracht Frankfurt. Kolo Muani played as the center forward, flanked by former Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembélé and Mbappé at Parc des Princes.
The match got off to a cautious start, with Donyell Malen’s shot comfortably saved by PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and Vitinha hitting the post in the 19th minute. Kolo Muani’s low strike was also saved near the end of a rather uneventful first half. Dortmund captain Emre Can commented on their performance, stating, “We chased the ball a lot. It was not a good performance as we gave away the ball too fast.”
PSG stepped up their game in the second half, with Dembélé delivering a cross from the right that found Mbappé. As Mbappé’s snapshot clipped Süle’s arm while he was falling down, a penalty was awarded despite Dortmund’s protests.
Shaky League Starts for Both Clubs
Both PSG and Dortmund had made shaky starts to their respective league campaigns. PSG currently occupies the fifth position after suffering a home defeat to Nice the previous Friday, while Dortmund is positioned seventh. PSG’s vulnerability to quick counterattacks was ruthlessly exposed by Nice. However, their performance against Dortmund displayed more composure, which coach Edin Terzić’s side struggled to break down.
Terzić acknowledged the issues in their performance, saying, “We can say clearly that we were not brave enough in the first half. We wanted to be braver, attack more, leave our positions more.”
Looking ahead, PSG is set to face Newcastle, while Dortmund will host Milan on October 4.
(This story has not been edited by Smartkhabrinews staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – Associated Press)
|Kylian Mbappé scores from the penalty spot for PSG in the 49th minute.|
|Achraf Hakimi finds the net for PSG with a well-crafted goal.|
|PSG secures a 2-0 home win against Borussia Dortmund.|
|AC Milan plays to a goalless draw against Newcastle in the same group.|
|PSG’s shaky league start improves with a composed Champions League performance.|