Paris Saint-Germain, the undisputed French champions have kickstarted their UEFA Champions League journey in style when they swept past German runners-up from last season Borussia Dortmund. Goals from French football stalwart Kylian Mbappe and Moroccan star Achraf Hakimi has sealed the deal for the Parisians, as Dortmund faced an uphill task against PSG.
A clash of the titans
Paris Saint-Germain has been one of the highly reputed teams in Europe, which has faced the history of faltering in the European elite competition, in spite of having several top stars in their squad, including Messi or Neymar. Although they have been the announced and established kings of the French Ligue 1, they have always failed to advance further in the Champions League. Their best result came few years back, when they had reached the finals of the tournament, eventually losing against Bayern Munich, when current Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel was at helm. Since then, they have either been knocked out in the Round of 16, or in quarter finals.
Owing to their failure in the elite, they have considered a shift in personnel as they have roped in former UCL winner with Barcelona Luis Enrique as the erstwhile Spain manager is shouldering the duties of manager. PSG, who are devoid of their superstars in the form of Neymar and Messi, would have faced an uphill task had their star striker Kylian Mbappe had opted to leave out the squad. But, after persuasion of the board and joining of former Barca winger Dembele, Mbappe had decided to stay one more year, for a final push to emerge victorious in UCL.
In pursue of their UCL title, PSG started their proceedings with a 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund, with Mbappe and Hakimi on target. Luis Enrique had started with his favorable 4-3-3 formation, with the defensive setup comprising Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe and Hernandez. The midfield boasted a gutsy lineup of youngster Zaire-Emery, Ugarte and Vitinha, with the frontal attack comprising the seasoned Kolo Muani, Dembele and Mbappe. On the other hand, Terzic opted for a more creative formation with a 3-5-2 formation, comprising five midfielders in the form of Sabitzer, Can, Brandt, Ryerson and Wolf. Two strikers who were given the responsibility of spearheading the attack were Adeyemi and Malen.
Mbappe- scoring hero
Both the teams had the opportunity of goin ahead with chances galore but they could not score an opener. People have seen Enrique’s prowess with the ball, as he loves to keep possession, having 69% in compared to 31% of the Germans. On the 14th minute, Dortmund boss Terzic had to make a forced substitution as former Manchester United and Leipzig star Sabitzer had to leave the field owing to an injury, and was replaced by Felix Nmecha.
As the first half ended with the match hanging in balance, with a score line of 0-0, fans at Parc des Princes believed that either side could make a change to bolster their opportunities. But, their opinions went in vain as both tacticians decided to keep the same combination in order to gain something from the match. As soon as the second half started, PSG was awarded with a penalty as referee Jesus Gil Manzano had spotted a handball from Dortmund players, thus giving PSG an edge to go ahead in the game. French World Cup winner and PSG great Mbappe, who has the knack of scoring goals in each game, made no mistake as he slotted home the opener from a perfect spot-kick, thus making the score line in favor of PSG 1-0. Owing to his performance, the French superstar was praised by his boss Enrique as he labelled him as the “best player”.
Hakimi doubles up the lead
When PSG were leading 1-0 and were gradually tiring out Borussia with their string of passes, Moroccan star Achraf Hakimi was right on the money to score the second goal of the night. He was assisted by Vitinha, who was instrumental in spearheading the PSG midfield last night, as Hakimi received a pass from the Portuguese, and scored a world-class goal from outside edge, thus doubling up PSG’s advantage in the game.
After the second goal, Borussia were hardly able to get back in the game as Enrique enhanced his team’s attack and defense simultaneously, with Goncalo Ramos replacing Kolo Muani and Danilo Pereira replacing Lucas Hernandez. On the 96th minute, Ramos rewarded his participation in the field and bolstered Enrique’s confidence by scoring a goal in the left post, but it was unfortunately ruled out due to offside, thus ending the match in the Parisian’s favor.
PSG boss Enrique was all praise for his stars as he was heard saying after the game, “The midfielders, the full-backs, everyone played a consistent match, especially in the first half. It’s a deserved victory. We could have scored more goals. We were excellent. Randal Kolo Muani needs time to get to know his team-mates and our system. I’m very happy with his match. What I liked the most tonight? I would say almost the whole match. The consistency, our clear idea of being at full strength from the first minute, and I think we were better than the opponent.”