Messi's superb strike gives PSG statement win over Manchester City
PARIS (AP) — Lionel Messi's superb first goal for Paris Saint-Germain punished former coach Pep Guardiola's team as PSG beat Manchester City 2-0 in the Champions League group stage on Tuesday.
Messi charged toward the penalty area in the 74th minute and received a clever flick from Kylian Mbappe before curling a fine strike into the top right corner.
It was his first goal in four games since a shock summer move from Barcelona, and the kind of goal he scored for fun playing under Guardiola there. The pair won the Champions League in 2009 and 2011, with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner scoring in both finals.
City had not lost its five previous meetings with PSG, winning 2-1 in Paris and 2-0 at home in last season’s semifinals before losing to Chelsea in the final.
PSG started its dream attack of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe, but it was unheralded midfielder Idrissa Gueye who opened the scoring in the eighth minute.
He thumped the ball into the top corner after Neymar’s scuffed shot fell to him just inside the penalty area following Mbappe’s cross from the right.
City should have equalized in the 26th, but instead produced a contender for miss of the season.
Raheem Sterling’s header from Kevin De Bruyne's cross hit the crossbar and the ball fell to winger Bernardo Silva less than two meters out. But Silva somehow scooped the ball onto the bar with goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma beaten.
Donnarumma and opposite number Ederson then made a smart save each in an even first half that De Bruyne was perhaps lucky to finish, receiving only a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Gueye's shin.
Sterling dragged a shot wide early in the second half as City caught PSG's defense asleep down the left.
Donnarumma then kicked away De Bruyne's shot in the 54th as City exposed poor defending on the other flank as the Premier League champion took control.
PSG's glittering attack looked flat, as it did in a 1-1 draw against Club Brugge. Neymar shot into the side netting midway through the second half, with Mbappe in a better position.
Then Messi lit up Parc des Princes with a glimpse of things to come, at the stadium where he scored his last Champions League goal for Barcelona last season.
PSG tops Group A and is level with Club Brugge with four points. Club Brugge won 2-1 at last-place Leipzig.