Mbappe strikes twice as PSG ease past Juventus

Mbappe strikes twice as PSG ease past Juventus

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 ten minutes.

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.