25 October 2022

Lionel Messi leads Paris St Germain to huge win and Champions League progress

25 October 2022

Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe each struck twice as Paris St Germain blasted seven past Maccabi Haifa to secure their passage to the Champions League knockout stage.

Messi needed just 19 minutes to put the Frenchmen ahead and Mbappe made it 2-0 with 32 minutes gone before the third member of the PSG superstar triumvirate, Neymar, struck to make it 3-0.

Abdoulaye Seck pulled one back but Messi’s second sent the home side in at the break 4-1 ahead and although Seck doubled his tally five minutes after the break, the Israeli champions’ night in Paris was to take a significant turn for the worse.

Mbappe’s second and Sean Goldberg’s own goal made it 6-2 with 23 minutes remaining, and it was left to substitute Carlos Soler to complete the rout as time ran down.

PSG will be joined in the last 16 by Group H rivals Benfica after they edged a seven-goal thriller to dump Juventus out of the competition.

Antonio Silva headed the Portuguese side into a 17th-minute lead and although Dusan Vlahovic levelled, a Joao Mario penalty and Rafa Silva’s close-range finish sent the home side in at the break 3-1 ahead.

Rafa made it 4-1 when he made the most of Alejandro Grimaldo’s through-ball and late goals from Arkadiusz Milik and Weston McKennie were not enough to rescue the Serie A outfit.

RB Leipzig edged themselves to the brink of qualification by inflicting a first defeat of the season on Real Madrid.

Josko Gvardiol got the home side off to the perfect start in their Group F clash and Christopher Nkunku made it 2-0 with just 18 minutes gone, although Vinicius Junior dragged the visitors back into it with a 44th-minute header.

Substitute Timo Werner extended the home side’s lead with nine minutes remaining and Rodrygo’s stoppage-time penalty proved little consolation as the Germans held on for a 3-2 win.

Scottish champions Celtic will finish bottom of the group after a 1-1 home draw with Shakhtar Donetsk after Mykhailo Mudryk’s stunning strike cancelled out Giorgos Giakoumakis’ opener.

Kai Havertz’s stunning strike sent Chelsea into the last 16 as Group E winners after a 2-1 victory at Red Bull Salzburg.

The Germany international curled home a fine effort midway through the second half to decide a testing evening in Austria and extend Graham Potter’s unbeaten start to his Blues reign to nine games.

Mateo Kovacic had given the Premier League outfit a 23rd-minute lead and although that was cancelled out by Junior Adamu four minutes into the second half, Havertz ensured the Blues progressed with a game to spare.

AC Milan will have high hopes of joining them after a 4-0 victory at Dinamo Zagreb.

Matteo Gabbia’s 39th-minute header put the visitors in front and Rafael Leao doubled their advantage five minutes after the break before Olivier Giroud’s penalty and Robert Ljubicic’s own goal wrapped up the scoring.

Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty as Manchester City had to make do with a 0-0 draw at Borussia Dortmund, who qualify alongside City from Group G.

Late goals from Isco and Gonzalo Montiel finally killed off Copenhagen’s faint hopes of making the knock-out stages as Sevilla finished strongly to seal a 3-0 victory.

Substitute Youssef En-Nesyri headed the home side into a 61st-minute lead before Isco struck two minutes from time and Montiel added a third in stoppage time, with Davit Khocholava’s dismissal capping a bad night for the visitors.

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