Match Report: Paris Saint-Germain 7-2 Maccabi Haifa: Messi at the double as PSG secure last-16 place

Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain marched through to the Champions League knockout stages with a 7-2 win over Maccabi Haifa.

Lionel Messi celebrates with Kylian Mbappe

Neymar was also on target to help Christophe Galtier’s side book their place in the last 16 with a match to spare.

Sean Goldberg’s own goal and a late Carlos Soler strike completed a commanding victory at Parc des Princes, where PSG remain unbeaten after 90 minutes since their 2-1 defeat by Manchester City in the 2020-21 semi-finals.

A pair of Abdoulaye Seck headers proved academic for Maccabi, whose attention turns to the fight for the Europa League after their elimination from Group H was confirmed.

PSG broke the deadlock in the 19th minute as a persistent Mbappe poked the ball to Messi, who delightfully prodded beyond Josh Cohen with the outside of his boot from 12 yards.

Mbappe doubled the lead from a similar position 13 minutes later; the France forward brilliantly curling into the far corner after the ball ricocheted kindly for him, and Neymar made it 3-0 when he tucked away Messi’s throughball following a devastating counter.

The visitors pulled one back when Seck headed in Omer Atzili’s free-kick, but the hosts quickly restored their three-goal cushion as Messi swept home a trademark 20-yard effort.

Seck grabbed his second by looping a header over Gianluigi Donnarumma five minutes after the restart, becoming the first defender to score twice against PSG since Julian Palmieri for Bastia in January 2015.

The hosts soon regained control, however, as Mbappe superbly curled past Cohen from Achraf Hakimi’s deep cross, before Goldberg turned Neymar’s centre beyond his own goalkeeper.

The crossbar denied Messi a hat-trick, but the Argentina star provided a neat lay-off for Soler to round off a dominant display six minutes from time.

What does it mean? Seven heaven for PSG

Their leaky defence is a cause for concern heading into the knockout stages. Indeed, they are yet to register a clean sheet in this season’s competition.

Mbappe makes his mark

After his double and two assists, no player has been directly involved in more non-penalty goals than Mbappe since his Champions League debut in September 2016 (58).

The France forward has also registered more assists than any other player during that span in Europe’s premier club competition (22).

Messi at the double

Messi marked his 50th PSG appearance with two goals and two assists as the hosts cruised at Parc des Princes.

His second goal was his 23rd from outside the box, more than any other player since his Champions League debut in the 2004-05 season.

The Argentina captain subsequently took his goal and assist tallies for the campaign across all competitions into double figures (10 and 11 respectively), becoming the first player to do so in the top five European leagues.

What’s next?

Both sides return to domestic action on Saturday before completing their Group H campaigns next week. PSG host Troyes in Ligue 1, while Maccabi welcome Ashdod in the Israeli Premier League.

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