PSG’s road to Istanbul got off to the
perfect start as the French champions comfortably beat Juventus 2-1 in their
Group H Champions League opener at the Parc des Princes in Paris. Kylian
Mbappe’s first-half brace was enough to take PSG to victory, with Juventus
unable to grab a draw after Weston McKennie pulled one back for the Italian
team after half-time.
PSG started their fabled front three of
Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Lionel Messi for this marquee clash, and it took no
less than the first five minutes for two of their three stars to connect and
score the opening goal of the game. Neymar scooped the ball over the Juventus
defence for the onrushing Mbappe, who unleashed a stunning first-time volley
past Mattia Perin to give PSG the lead.
Juventus should have pulled level soon
after when Juan Cuadrado found Arkadiusz Milik in the box with a brilliant
curled cross. However, Gianluigi Donnarumma produced a fine save to stop the
Polish striker’s rocket header.
Three minutes later, PSG and Mbappe made
Juventus pay for their profligacy at the other end, with the Frenchman doubling
his tally and the lead. The forward exchanged a quick one-two with wing-back
Achraf Hakimi in the penalty area before striking another beautiful first-time
volley into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.
Max Allegri brought on Weston McKennie for
Fabio Miretti at half-time to shake things up, and the American made an instant
impact, pulling one back for the Bianconeri in the 53rd minute. Donnarumma
erred as he couldn’t get a hand on Filip Kostic’s cross, and the midfielder
made no mistake with his header into the empty net.
The Italian made amends moments later with
a pivotal reaction save to deny Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic from close
range, as well as another important stop against Manuel Locatelli in the final
PSG could have added a third if Mbappe
squared the ball to Neymar instead of taking on the shot from a tight angle to
start the second half, and the number seven also had another glorious
opportunity to complete his hat-trick. Mbappe scuffed his finish after being
released by Lionel Messi down the left-wing in the 64th minute, but PSG hung on
throughout the final half hour to take all three points and get their Champions
League campaign off to a winning start.
This victory continues PSG’s perfect start
to the season as Les Parisiens jump to the top of Group H alongside Benfica,
who beat Maccabi Haifa 2-0 in their opener.