Champions League beats and misses: Lionel Messi’s strength knocks out Man City and Curtis Jones shines Liverpool | Football Stories

Messi’s magic has lit up Paris

Lionel Messi celebrates his goal against Manchester City

Lionel Messi was a standout performer in the second round at the Parc des Princes. But, as Manchester City insisted on a match, he was watching and waiting for his turn.

It came in the 74th minute, when, still halfway to the right half of the field, Messi picked up Marco Verratti’s pass and climbed up in front of him.

In the meantime, it seemed like something special was about to happen.

Achraf Hakimi’s dismissal interrupted Joao Cancelo and Messi who stepped inside, passing Aymeric Laporte as if they weren’t there, hitting one heel of Kylian Mbappe’s right boot, and the first shot in the big corner.

The pitch exploded and Messi’s cheerful vigor provided relief. He started slowly in his new position, failing to win in PSG’s first three games and then injury, but has now arrived.

Minutes like this are what he was brought to PSG for, but it was not Messi’s performance.

There were some interesting chances, especially one that freed Nuno Mendes at half-time when he was under pressure in the first half, but did not make a chance in the game. He only managed well once and never touched once in the City box.

Despite this, sitting on the right and being distracted by adequate defense in Europe, Messi found a way out. His goal, well taken from 20 yards out, came from his only shot in the evening.

It was a reminder, if necessary, of a skill that still allows him to tackle the bigger game. It was also a reminder of how his signing elevates the team seeking their first Champions League crown. At this point he was beaten.
Nick Wright

The city has no borders

City fired 18 unbeaten goals against PSG
City fired 18 unbeaten goals against PSG

There is no reason for Manchester City to panic after the defeat. There are four games for the club and, after beating RB Leipzig in their first game, they have one point behind PSG.

Pep Guardiola was eager to explain the chaos in his interview after the game. “Now we have a good meal tonight, we drink a glass of wine, we get well and we get ready for Saturday’s game,” he said.

But he immediately recognizes the need for his team to show less if he wants to beat Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday at Anfield.

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At the Parc des Princes, he had 18 shots without finding the net. Bernardo Silva was very wrong, hitting a cross from several angles where it seemed easy to get the first half, but he wasn’t the only one who was unstable when needed.

The same goes for Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne and Ruben Dias, all of whom provided excellent chances to beat Gianluigi Donnarumma.

There have been some events this season, for sure, where they have had no problem finishing their chances. But this was one of the games that showed why Guardiola was keen to sign Tottenham’s Harry Kane in the summer.

Last season, City did not fail to win any of the first 15 games of the campaign. This time, it has already happened three times in nine. At Anfield they will have to be sharp.
Nick Wright

Jones shines as Liverpool exit Porto

Curtis Jones was a Liverpool star in the Champions League
Curtis Jones was a Liverpool star in the Champions League

Not surprisingly, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino scored in the 5-1 win over Porto at the Estadio do Dragao on Tuesday. But the reputation of the players who achieved their goals convinced Jurgen Klopp.

James Milner, the oldest player in Liverpool, assisted by the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, handed the tested cross to Mane in the second second place. Other than that, it was Curtis Jones, their last single, who was the star of the show.

Jones scored three of five goals and did many other things, without football, to prove the growing importance of the Liverpool team. He was a helper.

Klopp was fond of his players to speed up the game as he threw them back with aimless goals in the middle of the first half. Jones did better than that. Realizing that the place was spacious, he began to search for them and drive them backwards.

It was a great moment and it showed that the 20-year-old midfielder is ready to do more than just play carefully, kick the ball and wait for the big names to deliver. He has that malady, that passion and the ability to make things happen on his own.

Jones still manages to do simple things too. Yes, there was one solid ball in front of him and an effort to get past the back when he saw Salah in the air, but the moments were noticeable. He was only twice in the first round when he missed the pass.

The other 40 found a player in the 45 minutes, and I followed him more accurately than anyone else on the field. More than 28 finale at the end of the opposing half before that time than anyone else. It was work that required attention.

Harvey Elliott had more of this at the beginning of the season, when he moved into the space left vacant by the exit of Gini Wijnaldum. Jones is well-known, having already signed for more than 50 games in Liverpool. But in this testimony he seems ready for a great responsibility.

His work for the third goal illustrated this well. Winning the ball was great, running with it was good, but the availability of the mindset to get you through it was better.

The fourth paid off another loan after Jones lost the ball on the left side and expected more than he expected but did well to maintain a solid position before this happened. He also did the fifth part.

It turned out to be a very good night for her. While Milner is keen to continue his career, Jones could only find a new one.
Adam Bate

The chef was surprised

Players Sheriff celebrates their victory at the Bernabeu
Players Sheriff celebrates their victory at the Bernabeu

On the eve of a Champions League match, Moldovan Sheriff Tiraspol did one of the greatest things in the history of the competition when he beat Real Madrid 2-1 at the Bernabeu.

The Sheriff, who hails from the Transnistria region and was frustrated by the difficulties that came up to the first team in their history, won the Spanish national team with a 89e-minute shot from Sebastien Thill.

Earlier in the day, he made headlines for Uzbek midfielder Jasurbek Yakhshiboev as Real Madrid demanded a fine from Karim Benzema.

The Spanish giants thwarted the Sheriff’s goal, trying to shoot 31 of the four guests and having 76% of what they had, but they failed to take their chances and were punished with thrilling excitement.

Sheriff, who previously stunned Shakhtar Donetsk with a 2-0 win in their opening Champions League game, is now top of Group D with six points – and has a chance to reach the last 16.

“It’s hard to explain the game,” said Carlo Ancelotti, who was shocked later.
Nick Wright

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