The series continues, PSG wins and follows the rhythm of Benfica, their next opponent, winner at Juventus (2-1), at the top of group H.
A goal and an assist for each other, Messi (37th) and Mbappé (69th) bent Maccabi, who had struck first by Tjaronn Chery (24th), before Neymar concluded a counter (88th) .
But the Parisians did not silence the volcanic Sammy-Ofer stadium. The atmosphere was fantastic, worthy of the most famous cauldrons of football, with incessant chants and leaping ultras. Apart from the quarter turn with 1,500 Parisians, almost 100% of the public wore a Maccabi jersey.
Lack of intensity
But PSG was less magical, far from the exciting team at the start of the season. A bit like against Brest (1-0), Saturday, Christophe Galtier’s men won after a less successful collective performance. We reviewed some bad habits from last season, a somewhat soft pace and a long-borrowed “MNM”.
Messi was often countered, Mbappé missed two chances (2nd, 11th) and Neymar got angry, annoyed that the German referee Daniel Siebert did not whistle the penalty for a fairly clear contact, all the same, with the goalkeeper Maccabi’s Israeli-American Josh Cohen (29th).
PSG even conceded the first goal on a loose ball, poorly played by Marco Verratti for Sergio Ramos. Dolev Haziza’s cross found Surinamese Tjaronn Chery’s left foot.
Leo Messi equalized on a cross from Mbappé. The Argentine star will have scored during the … 18 Champions League seasons he has played. A record.
But the lack of intensity of Galtier’s men allowed the Greens to be dangerous twice more, on a cross shot from Atzili (43rd) and above all a new powerful shot from Chery nicely boxed by Donnarumma (45th + 1). The Italian goalkeeper had also deflected a heavy strike from Mohammad Abu Fani (11th). Maccabi once again proved dangerous, on a strike from Pierre Cornud, one of the French from Maccabi, diverted … by his teammate Frantzdy Pierrot (52nd).
Mbappé joins Cavani
Then PSG put a little pep back in their game. Cornud arrived on the ball just before Nordi Mukiele on a shot from Messi deflected by Cohen (64th). And a pass from the left side of the « Pulga » launched Mbappé towards one of his wrapped cross strikes that he rarely misses. The world champion scored his 30th C1 goal for PSG there, joining Uruguayan Edinson Cavani.
At 2-1, the public was never discouraged, but Maccabi clearly lost ground, despite their loyalty to the attacking precepts of their coach, Barak Bakhar, who had promised not to let their guard down.
Omer Atzili, the incisive green-haired winger, who played against his model Neymar and hurt Nuno Mendes, or « Pierrot », as the public calls the Haitian striker, and Chery no longer had good balls.
The show waned. A spectator entered the field and approached Messi until he jostled him a little before being subdued by the stewards.
Achraf Hakimi came in instead of Mukiele and was booed by the audience, for a former pro-Palestinian stance.