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Lionel Messi’s 1st PSG goal helps beat City; wins for Atletico, Liverpool

Messi’s brilliant strike capped a 2-0 win for PSG over fellow big spender Manchester City in what was a repeat of last season’s semifinal.

PSG'PSG's Lionel Messi, center, celebrates with Neymar, right, and Idrissa Gueye. (AP)

Lionel Messi scored his first Paris Saint-German goal and Luxembourg midfielder Sébastien Thill struck late for newcomer Sheriff to stun 13-time champion Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Messi’s brilliant strike capped a 2-0 win for PSG over fellow big spender Manchester City in what was a repeat of last season’s semifinal.

But the surprise of the second round was Moldovan club Sheriff’s coup in Madrid, where the home team was repeatedly thwarted by Greek goalkeeper Giorgos Athanasiadis and missed a host of chances before Thill’s last-minute goal secured a 2-1 win for the visitors.

Luis Suárez also struck late as his injury-time penalty gave Atlético Madrid a 2-1 win at 10-man AC Milan.

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Club Brügge and Liverpool also claimed away wins at Leipzig and Porto, respectively.

MESSI MAGIC

With all the attention on PSG’s star attacking trio of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, it was unheralded midfielder Idrissa Gueye who opened the scoring in Paris with a hard strike inside the top right corner in the eighth minute.

But the home team was fortunate to be leading at the break with Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva both hitting the crossbar in quick succession, the latter from just a couple of yards out with an empty net.

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Gianluigi Donnarumma also made his case for becoming PSG’s No. 1 goalkeeper with a commanding performance to keep City out.

Messi settled the issue in the 74th after playing a one-two with Mbappé, who returned the ball with his heel, and then dinking it over Ederson inside the far corner.

It was the Argentine star’s first goal since his summer switch from Barcelona.

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City had been unbeaten in its previous 18 Champions League group-stage matches.

In the other Group A game, Club Brugge won 2-1 at Leipzig.

Leipzig’s American coach Jesse Marsch was the first to celebrate – twice.

Christopher Nkunku’s fifth-minute goal for Leipzig was ruled out for offside, but a VAR check gave the go-ahead for the home team’s celebrations to resume a minute later.

But Hans Vanaken equalized in the 22nd – again after a long VAR check – and Mats Rits grabbed what proved to be winner in the 41st.

WINS FOR ATLÉTICO, LIVERPOOL

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Spanish champion Atlético was second best for long periods at Group B rival Milan.

Rafael Leão scored for Milan in the 20th after some fine work from Brahim Díaz to set him up, but the home team was dealt a severe blow nine minutes later when Franck Kessié was shown a second yellow card for catching Marcos Llorente.

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Still, the visitors had to wait until the 84th for Antoine Griezmann to equalize with his first goal for Atlético since he returned from Barcelona. Suárez, another former Barça forward, got the winner from the spot after a handball in the area. It was the Uruguay star’s first Champions League goal away from home since he scored for Barça at Roma in September 2015.

Nothing worked for Porto at home, either, as the Portuguese club lost 5-1 to Liverpool.

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Mohamed Salah capitalized on a fortunate deflection from a Porto defender to open the scoring for Liverpool in the 18th and Sadio Mané had a tap-in after some lax defending before the break.

Porto’s experienced defender Pepe was injured in the warmup and Otávio went off early, too.

Salah grabbed his second on the hour-mark. Mehdi Taremi pulled one back, but Roberto Firmino scored two to pad the scoreline.

HALLER STRIKES AGAIN

With Erling Haaland still out for Dortmund, it was up to Sébastien Haller to grab the headlines in Group C.

The Ivory Coast forward’s 43rd-minute goal gave Ajax a 2-0 win over Beşiktaş and took his tally to five goals in two Champions League games since his offseason switch from West Ham.

Dortmund failed to impress in Haaland’s continued absence with a muscle injury. The German team eked out a 1-0 win at home over Sporting Lisbon thanks to new signing Donyell Malen’s first goal for the club.

First published on: 29-09-2021 at 10:20 IST
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