Christophe Galtier was relieved to see his Paris Saint-Germain side bounce back from an "average" first half to beat Maccabi Haifa 3-1 in Champions League Group H on Wednesday.

The Ligue 1 champions fell behind to Tjaronn Chery's strike midway through the first half, but they went in at the break level thanks to Lionel Messi's close-range finish.

The Argentinian's goal saw him move clear of long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo as the player to have scored against the highest number of opponents in the Champions League (39).

It also meant he became the first player in history to score in 18 different Champions League seasons.

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar added to Messi's goal in the second half as PSG won their opening two matches in a Champions League campaign for the first time since 2019-20 under Thomas Tuchel, when they went on to reach the final.

While Galtier was unimpressed with his side's below-par display in the first half, he praised his players for the way they reacted to his instructions after the break.

"We had two or three big situations in the first period and they had some too; they pushed hard in what was a big atmosphere," he told RMC Sport 1.

"We were not well organised and we were quickly cut in two. It made for a very difficult first period. We had to rectify things and after the break we were much more compact.

"The opponents are always of very good quality in the Champions League. We had to react after the first period which was average, especially on a tactical level.

"We were cut open, our team block was low and Maccabi pushed high. From the moment the front three went down to get back in the block, we were better.

"It was not a question of lack of effort, but a question of poor analysis of the pressure between our midfielders and our attacking trio."

Mbappe's strike means he has now scored 30 goals in 46 Champions League games for PSG, taking him level with Edinson Cavani as the club's highest scorer in the competition.

Like his coach, the 23-year-old was not impressed with PSG's first half and says they need to improve quickly. 

"We fell asleep a bit and we conceded this first goal," he told Canal+. "Then we reacted well. We started to install our game and make differences. We were able to score the second and seal the win at the end with the third. 

"We have to improve. We will have to work. We work during the week but now we have to get results quickly because the important things will happen quickly, like the World Cup."

Christophe Galtier was relieved to see his Paris Saint-Germain side bounce back from an "average" first half to beat Maccabi Haifa 3-1 in Champions League Group H on Wednesday.

The Ligue 1 champions fell behind to Tiaronn Chery's strike midway through the first half, but they went in at the break level thanks to Lionel Messi's close-range finish.

The Argentinian's goal saw him move clear of long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo as the player to have scored against the highest number of opponents in the Champions League (39).

It also meant he became the first player in history to score in 18 different Champions League seasons.

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar added to Messi's goal in the second half as PSG won their opening two matches in a Champions League campaign for the first time since 2019-20 under Thomas Tuchel, when they went on to reach the final.

While Galtier was unimpressed with his side's below-par display in the first half, he praised his players for the way they reacted to his instructions after the break.

"We had two or three big situations in the first period and they had some too; they pushed hard in what was a big atmosphere," he told RMC Sport 1.

"We were not well organised and we were quickly cut in two. It made for a very difficult first period. We had to rectify things and after the break we were much more compact.

"The opponents are always of very good quality in the Champions League. We had to react after the first period which was average, especially on a tactical level.

"We were cut open, our team block was low and Maccabi pushed high. From the moment the front three went down to get back in the block, we were better.

"It was not a question of lack of effort, but a question of poor analysis of the pressure between our midfielders and our attacking trio."

Mbappe's strike means he has now scored 30 goals in 46 Champions League games for PSG, taking him level with Edinson Cavani as the club's highest scorer in the competition.

Like his coach, the 23-year-old was not impressed with PSG's first half and says they need to improve quickly. 

"We fell asleep a bit and we conceded this first goal," he told Canal+. "Then we reacted well. We started to install our game and make differences. We were able to score the second and seal the win at the end with the third. 

"We have to improve. We will have to work. We work during the week but now we have to get results quickly because the important things will happen quickly, like the World Cup."

Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were all on target as Paris Saint-Germain came from behind to beat Maccabi Haifa 3-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Tjaronn Chery gave the Israeli side hope of a famous victory when he powered home from close range in the 24th minute.

But PSG responded well to that early setback and pulled level before the break when Messi stroked home following fine work by Mbappe.

France international Mbappe put the visitors ahead and Neymar then sealed the three points late on as PSG made it two wins from two in Group H following last week's victory over Juventus.

Josh Cohen denied a clean-through Mbappe after just 70 seconds, while at the other end Gianluigi Donnarumma got down well to keep out Mohammad Abu Fani's strike in the ninth minute.

Maccabi stunned the Ligue 1 giants shortly after the midway point of the first half when Chery stole in at the back post to volley home Dolev Haziza's superb cross from six yards.

PSG restored parity eight minutes before the interval, though, when Messi clipped home from close range after Mbappe's low cross from the left had been deflected into his path.

Frantzdy Pierrot squandered a golden opportunity to put Maccabi ahead again early in the second half, the forward narrowly directing Pierre Cornud's cross past the post.

Messi was denied by a wonderful save from Cohen, but there was nothing the Maccabi goalkeeper could do to keep out Mbappe in the 69th minute as the 23-year-old curled past him after latching onto Messi's pass. 

Neymar then put the seal on the victory two minutes from full-time when he latched onto Marco Verratti's ball over the top and fired a crisp finish past Cohen.

There was no shortage of thrills and spills on matchday one of the Champions League, and Wednesday's action promises more of the same as one of the world's most in-form strikers faces his former club.

Erling Haaland has made a spectacular start to his Manchester City career, hitting 12 goals in all competitions since his move from Borussia Dortmund, but how will he fare when his old team visit the Etihad Stadium? 

Elsewhere, Graham Potter will hope to have an immediate impact in his first game as Chelsea's head coach as they bid to bounce back from last week's 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb.

Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, meanwhile, are among the favourites to be crowned European champions, and will both be hopeful of making it two wins from two outings.

Ahead of another intriguing set of European ties, Stats Perform trawls through the Opta data to highlight the most noteworthy facts for each game.

Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund

City striker Haaland netted 15 times in 13 Champions League appearances for Dortmund, and few would bet against the Norwegian haunting his former team on Wednesday.

Haaland helped himself to a brace at Sevilla last time out, bringing him to 25 Champions League goals in just 20 appearances – the highest tally managed by any player in their first 20 games in Europe's premier club competition. 

The visit of BVB will represent a landmark outing for City boss Pep Guardiola, taking him to 150 Champions League games. Only five other coaches have reached that tally, while only two have earned more victories than Guardiola's 94 – Alex Ferguson (102) and Carlo Ancelotti (99).

The omens are certainly good for the Premier League champions, who are unbeaten in their last 20 Champions League home games, winning 18 and drawing two. That represents the longest such sequence by an English side since Chelsea's run of 21 without defeat between September 2006 and December 2009.

Dortmund, meanwhile, have not won at an English side in the competition since beating Arsenal 2-1 in October 2013.

Chelsea v Salzburg

Defeat to Dinamo Zagreb spelled the end of Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea reign last week, and Potter is the man entrusted to ensure they avoid back-to-back continental defeats when Salzburg visit.

Chelsea have never previously lost their opening two games of a Champions League campaign, and last lost consecutive games in the competition in 2019-20, when they were beaten by Bayern Munich in both legs of a last-16 tie.

This will be the first meeting between Chelsea and Salzburg, with the Blues only losing one of their previous four European ties against Austrian teams (W1 D2). Salzburg, meanwhile, have never beaten an English side in European competition in six attempts (D1 L5).

But the Blues will have to be wary of Matthias Jaissle's young guns at Stamford Bridge, and may need to keep a particularly close eye on Noah Okafor. 

The 22-year-old has four goals in his last five Champions League outings for Salzburg – only Haaland (eight) has ever scored more for the club in the competition.

Real Madrid v RB Leipzig

Holders Madrid are looking to secure consecutive wins when they host RB Leipzig at the Santiago Bernabeu, and are unbeaten in their last 11 Champions League games against German opponents, scoring at least two goals in all of those matches (27 in total).

Leipzig, however, are unbeaten in their three European clashes with Spanish sides (W2 D1) and will be looking for a result comparable to their 2-1 quarter-final win over Atletico Madrid in 2019-20.

Los Blancos possess a remarkable amount of experience at the highest level; should Luka Modric feature, he will become the first 37-year-old outfield player to play a European Cup/Champions League game for Madrid since Ferenc Puskas in November 1965 against Kilmarnock.

Coach Ancelotti, meanwhile, is on the brink of his 100th win in the Champions League, and could become just the second boss to bring up such a century in the competition (after Alex Ferguson with 102).

Maccabi Haifa v Paris Saint-Germain

Kylian Mbappe scored a terrific brace to get PSG's European campaign off to a flying start against Juventus, and a trip to Maccabi Haifa gives him the opportunity to make club history.

The striker has scored 29 goals in 45 Champions League outings with PSG, scoring against 14 of the 17 opponents he's faced with the French champions. One more goal will see him level Edinson Cavani's record of 30 goals in the competition for the Ligue 1 side.

He could be aided by the in-form Neymar, who has provided eight assists for Mbappe in the Champions League, more than any player has assisted another in the competition since the start of 2017-18.

The final member of their revered forward trio, Lionel Messi, also has his eyes on making history.

Messi has scored against 38 different teams in the Champions League, the same amount as his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo, and will be keen to claim the record outright when he faces Maccabi for the first time on Wednesday.

Other fixtures:

Rangers v Napoli

1 – Wednesday's rearranged match will be the first competitive meeting between Rangers and Napoli. The Serie A side have only faced a Scottish team in European competition once before, exiting to Hibernian in the Fairs Cup in November 1967.

3 – Piotr Zielinski was directly involved in three of Napoli's four goals as they thrashed Liverpool last week (two goals, one assist). This is already his best campaign for goal contributions in the competition since joining Napoli.  

Milan vs Dinamo Zagreb

6 - Milan have failed to win any of their last six home games in the Champions League (D3 L3), their longest run without a home victory in the competition.

31.8 – Dinamo Zagreb had just 31.8 per cent possession against Chelsea on matchday one, the lowest of any team who managed to avoid defeat in their opening game.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Celtic

3 – Shakhtar's Mykhailo Mudryk was one of three players to be directly involved in three goals on matchday one (one goal, two assists), along with Robert Lewandowski and Zielinski.

1/13 - Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart has only kept one clean sheet in his last 13 away Champions League games, with his last coming at Roma in December 2014 (for Manchester City).

Copenhagen v Sevilla

8 - Spanish sides are unbeaten in all eight of their Champions League games against Danish clubs (W6 D2) – only against sides from the Czech Republic (13) have Spanish teams appeared more often without defeat.

3/4 - Sevilla have lost three of their last four Champions League group-stage games (W1), as many as they lost in their previous 22 such matches (W10 D9).

Juventus v Benfica

2 - Juventus have lost their last two Champions League games. Only once in the history of the European Cup/Champions League have they lost three in a row, doing so between May 1968 and September 1972.

4 – Benfica's Alejandro Grimaldo has been involved in four goals in his last four Champions League games (one goal, three assists), more than he was in his first 27 games in the competition (two goals, one assist).

Cristiano Ronaldo's future at Manchester United was a major source of speculation during the transfer window.

The 37-year-old Portuguese forward reportedly wanted to leave United in order to fulfil his desire to play Champions League football and challenge for trophies in the top leagues.

However, Ronaldo was unable to secure a move, with the likes of Napoli, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid publicly distancing themselves from him following links, which may have led to another option being considered down the line.

TOP STORY – RONALDO TO RE-VISIT SAUDI OFFER IN JANUARY

Cristiano Ronaldo is reconsidering a lucrative offer from an unnamed Saudi Arabian club and could move in January, according to The Mirror.

Ronaldo had a stunning £211million Saudi offer during the transfer window but declined the move as he remained focused on playing in Europe.

But he will re-visit that in January after failing to secure a move, as he comes to the realisation his desire to play Champions League football and win trophies in top leagues may be fading.

Ronaldo has also struggled for game time this season at United under new boss Erik ten Hag, starting just one out of six Premier League games so far.

ROUND-UP

– L'Equipe claims that Kylian Mbappe's Paris Saint-Germain contract expires in 2024 and not 2025, as that final year is at the sole discretion of the player. Mbappe was close to joining Real Madrid last term before signing a lucrative extension with PSG.

Inter are eager to work on a contract extension for defender Milan Skriniar who is out of contract at the end of this season, reports L'Interista. The Slovakian defender was pursued by PSG during the last transfer window, while Tottenham were also credited with an interest.

Arsenal will look to loan out 19-year-old Brazilian winger Marquinhos in order to gain first-team experience and game time, reports FourFourTwo. As a result, the Gunners will aim to bring in a short-term replacement in January.

N'Golo Kante has declined a new two-year deal with Chelsea and is out of contract in 2023, claims The Athletic.

– UOL says  Brighton and Hove Albion are interested in hiring Palmeiras boss Abel Ferreira to replace Graham Potter, who exited for Chelsea last week.

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were spoken to privately by Paris Saint-Germain boss Christophe Galtier following their latest on-pitch contretemps.

The PSG forwards have begun the season in fine scoring form, but their relationship has faced intense scrutiny after appearing fractious at times.

It has again come under the microscope after Neymar's upset reaction to Mbappe ignoring the chance to feed him a pass for a likely tap-in in the 2-1 Champions League win over Juventus.

That moment early in the second half of Tuesday's game saw Mbappe charge in from the right flank after receiving a pass from Lionel Messi and blaze a shot wide, rather than square the ball for the advancing Neymar. With two goals already in the game, the France international was chasing a hat-trick.

Mbappe faced criticism earlier in the season for his actions during the 5-2 win over Montpellier, which included a public argument with Neymar.

Frenchman Mbappe missed a penalty in that game but felt he should have another chance from 12 yards when PSG were awarded a second spot-kick, only for Neymar to disagree, taking responsibility and scoring.

A seemingly sulky Mbappe then did not celebrate a goal of his own, and after the Juventus game Galtier had a familiar topic on his hands once more.

The PSG head coach said on Friday: "The relationship is very good. That is the truth. They are often together in training.

"Yes, there is a situation in a match, but having spoken to Kylian Mbappe yesterday – and I have also spoken to Ney – but from the discussion with Kylian Mbappe there were two moments: there was the first acceleration when there was possibly a chance to pass the ball but it was more difficult, and the second time was when Kylian Mbappe got into the box and did not see Ney.

"When you see the clip it looks simple, but at the time he had to make a decision. Kylian Mbappe was focused on the ball for shooting. I am convinced that Kylian Mbappe will get assists for Neymar, just as Neymar is capable of performing assists for Kylian Mbappe.

"There is nothing else negative about that since that piece of play in the game."

Neymar has seven goals and six assists from five starts and one substitute appearance in Ligue 1 this season, while Mbappe has seven goals from five starts but has yet to set up a goal for a team-mate.

Mbappe said ahead of the Juventus game that his relationship with Neymar had in the past "been colder or hotter" with moments where they have been "best friends" and others where they have been more distant.

Galtier could rest one or more of his strikeforce when PSG play Brest in Ligue 1 on Saturday, ahead of Wednesday's Champions League trip to Maccabi Haifa.

Asked whether he could considering resting all three of his star forwards – Messi, Neymar and Mbappe – Galtier's response was a punchy "No!".

But he confirmed one could miss out, saying: "That is possible."

PSG have taken 16 points from six games so far, scoring 24 Ligue 1 goals already, with only Manchester City's Erling Haaland (10) scoring more league goals than Neymar and Mbappe in Europe's top five leagues.

Brest are the only team Neymar has played against in Ligue 1 without registering either a goal or an assist; however, he has faced them just once in his career to date.

Anything other than a convincing home win for the leaders against their 17th-placed visitors would be a surprise, with PSG having won each of their last nine Ligue 1 matches against Brest. Among current Ligue 1 sides, they only have a longer winning run against Angers (12 games).

Paris Saint-Germain saw off a second-half fightback from Juventus to win their opening Champions League game 2-1 thanks to Kylian Mbappe's double.

Juve were no match for their hosts at the Parc des Princes in the first half, with Mbappe volleying home twice inside the first 22 minutes.

A defensive lapse from Christophe Galtier's side allowed Weston McKennie to drag Juve back into the contest eight minutes into the second half, however.

And Dusan Vlahovic and Manuel Locatelli both went close to restoring parity, yet PSG had enough to see out a first competitive win over Juve.

Mbappe had denied there were any issues between himself and Neymar in the pre-match press conference, and the duo proved they were in sync in the fifth minute as the France striker volleyed in from his team-mate's exquisite chipped pass.

Gianluigi Donnarumma made a fine save from Arkadiusz Milik at the other end, but PSG were in full flow up front, and it was 2-0 when Mbappe volleyed in again – this time from Achraf Hakimi's cutback.

Neymar might have turned from provider to scorer had his finish been better in the 49th minute, but Mattia Perin was equal to the forward's tame effort.

Mbappe should have provided Neymar with a tap-in two minutes later, only to shoot selfishly from a tight angle, and PSG were made to pay.

It had seemed a matter of damage limitation for Juve, yet PSG switched off from a corner, enabling McKennie to head in at the back post.

With Donnarumma brilliantly keeping out Vlahovic's header, sensational combination play from Neymar and Lionel Messi resulted in a great chance for Mbappe to restore PSG's two-goal cushion, but he lashed wide.

Mbappe's profligacy could have proved costly again as Locatelli saw a goal-bound toe-poke blocked, but PSG held on to get the job done.

Kylian Mbappe hinted a future move to Real Madrid is very much a possibility, saying the club feels like his "house".

Mbappe was widely expected to join Madrid upon the expiry of his contract in June, but instead he committed his future to Paris Saint-Germain until 2025 in a shock decision that sparked fury in Spain.

His new deal with PSG, which was reported to feature a €100million signing bonus, expires at the end of the 2024-25 season.

Mbappe will still only be 26 at that point, illustrating a point apparently made by Emmanuel Macron when the French president made his pitch for the World Cup winner to remain in his home country.

"I never imagined I'm gonna talk with the president about my future, about my future in my career, so it's something crazy, really something crazy," Mbappe said in an interview with The New York Times.

"He [Macron] told me: 'I want you to stay. I don't want you to leave now. You are so important for the country.'"

According to Mbappe, Macron added: "You have time to leave, you can stay a little bit more."

Mbappe did not give a clear indication as to whether he would take the opportunity to trade Paris for Madrid when the opportunity arises again, but he conceded he feels as if the club has dominated the narrative around his career despite never playing for Los Blancos.

"You never know what's going to happen," added Mbappe. "You've never been there, but it seems like it's like your house, or something like this."

Mbappe, though, rejected talk of the signing bonus and the massive contract given to him by PSG as being the reason for his decision to stay.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, eager to build a Champions League-winning team, claimed amid the fallout from Mbappe's decision that Madrid had offered more money.

Mbappe said of his significant financial compensation: "Everywhere I go, I'm gonna get money. I'm this type of player everywhere I go."

Kylian Mbappe insists his relationship with Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar is one based on deep respect, even though it can be "hot and cold".

PSG are preparing to open their Champions League campaign in a marquee fixture at home to Juventus on Tuesday.

They go into the game having made an impressive start to the Ligue 1 season, collecting 16 points from six games and scoring 24 goals in the process.

Mbappe and Neymar have racked up seven goals each – only Erling Haaland (10) has a higher total in Europe's top five leagues.

But Mbappe did face criticism earlier in the season for his actions during the 5-2 win over Montpellier, which included a public argument with Neymar.

"It is our sixth year together," PSG striker Mbappe said. "Neymar and I have always had a good relationship based on respect. 

"We have had moments where it has been colder or hotter – moments where we have been best friends and other times when we have spoken less – that is how our relationship is.

"There are incidents that happen, but there is a lot of respect between us. I have huge respect for him as a player and his importance in our team. 

"When you have two players with strong characters, it's not a linear thing, but there is always respect and it is all in the interest of PSG."

Mbappe, who signed a lucrative new deal to stay at PSG back in May, snubbing Real Madrid's interest, had missed a penalty earlier in that Montpellier contest.

Neymar later stepped up to take PSG's second penalty of the game, but Mbappe felt he should have remained on spot-kick duties, and in his rush to raise the issue with Neymar, he even barged past Lionel Messi.

The Brazil star subsequently converted from 12 yards before helping himself to a second, and while Mbappe got on the scoresheet himself, he did not celebrate.

Mbappe also reacted furiously to Vitinha's decision to pass to Messi rather than him, throwing his arms up in disgust and seemingly refusing to continue with the attack. 

PSG coach Christophe Galtier and president Nasser Al-Khelaifi have been among the key figures at the club to try to minimise the situation, with a similar tone struck by Mbappe ahead of the Juve clash.

Asked what would happen with penalties going forward, he replied: "We will see. There is always a discussion about that. We have to see how it is going during the game, we haven't decided. 

"If the match shows that Neymar takes it, that’s fine. If it is me, also fine, there are no problems. 

"When you play with the sorts of attackers that we have, you have to know how to share. There is no issue there."

PSG have only lost one of their past 30 home games in the Champions League group stage (W24 D5).

But glory in this competition has eluded them, with Mbappe yet to add the biggest honour in club football to his World Cup winners' medal at international level.

He added: "The reality now is that the Champions League is very difficult; the top teams have strengthened and signed world-class players. 

"We are going to battle with what we have and try everything to have as good a campaign as possible.

"Of course, our ambition is always to win. I always want to win. Everyone knows my aim when I take to the pitch is to do everything to get the victory.

"I am the same as last season. I am trying to do the same job, which means performing on the pitch, being decisive and winning as many trophies as possible."

Mbappe has scored in each of his past four Champions League matches, although he has never netted in five in a row. The last player to do so for PSG was Neymar in 2017.

Kylian Mbappe insists he trusts Paul Pogba's version of events following the controversial allegations made by the Juventus midfielder's brother.

Last week, Pogba's brother Mathias used social media to publish what he described as "great revelations" about his younger sibling, who helped France to 2018 World Cup glory alongside Mbappe.

Among other claims, Mathias alleged Paul had asked a marabout to use witchcraft to harm Mbappe, who is set to be France's star man as they aim to defend their world title in Qatar this year.

Pogba's lawyers issued a statement in response, claiming Mathias' comments had followed "threats and attempts of extortion by an organised gang".

Mbappe had not previously commented on the affair, but in a press conference previewing Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League opener against Juve – a match the injured Pogba will not feature in – he said he trusts his international team-mate.

"No," Mbappe replied when asked if the allegations had negatively impacted his relationship with Pogba. "Right now, I prefer to trust what my team-mate is saying.

"He called me and gave me his version of events. Right now, it's his word against his brother's word. I am going to trust my team-mate, and also, it's in the interest of the national team.

"We have a big competition coming up, there are certain problems at the moment and I am not going to add to those. I am quite detached from the whole issue."

Asked if his unknowing involvement in the affair had in any way affected his form, Mbappe said: "I have had a good start to the season, even though I think it could have been even better. I was against the clock in terms of the pre-season, but I have been able to perform well straight away.

"The things away from the pitch stay away from the pitch and what happens on the pitch stays on it. What matters is helping the team at all times."

Mbappe already has seven goals to his name this season from five Ligue 1 appearances.

The 23-year-old has scored in each of his past four Champions League matches, although he has never netted in five in a row in the competition. The last player to do so for PSG was Neymar in November 2017.

Kylian Mbappe scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain made it five wins from six Ligue 1 games this season with a 3-0 win over 10-man Nantes on Saturday.

Mbappe put the champions ahead shortly before the midway point of the first half with his sixth league goal of the campaign, before Nantes wing-back Fabio received his marching orders for a high challenge.

The France international grabbed his second early in the second half, before Nuno Mendes added a third as Christophe Galtier's men wrapped up maximum points with the minimum of fuss. 

The result meant PSG returned to the top of Ligue 1 after Marseille had briefly usurped them earlier in the day with victory over Auxerre, while Nantes remained in 10th.

Samuel Moutoussamy fired over for Nantes early on, while Danilo Pereira and Marquinhos went close at the other end as the visitors started to flex their muscles.

Mbappe then deservedly put PSG ahead in the 18th minute with a whipped effort past Alban Lafont after being played in by Lionel Messi at the end of an incisive counter-attacking move.

Nantes' task became significantly harder six minutes later when Fabio received a straight red card for an ugly lunge on Vitinha.

The game was effectively put out of their reach in the 54th minute when Mbappe prodded home from six yards after being picked out by Messi, the goal eventually given after a long VAR review for a possible offside.

Substitute Neymar inexplicably hit the post with the goal at his mercy, but his blushes were spared when Mendes fired in the rebound for his first PSG goal. 

What does it mean? Nantes blown away by relentless champions

Nantes kept PSG at bay for 18 minutes, yet as soon as Mbappe superbly finished off a flowing move there was only going to be one winner.

The result means PSG have now won seven of their past eight Ligue 1 away games, scoring a whopping 34 goals and conceding just five in that time.

Magnificent Messi

Mbappe will get the headlines after his brace, but Messi was at his unplayable best here.

The Argentina maestro laid on both of Mbappe's goals from two of his three key passes – a total not bettered by anyone on the pitch.

Foolish Fabio

Nantes were already 1-0 down when Fabio raked his studs down Vitinha's leg and any hopes they had of getting back into the game were vanquished with his dismissal.

Boss Antoine Kombouare will not be pleased with the former Manchester United man's recklessness.

What's next?

Both sides are in European action in midweek, with PSG starting their Champions League campaign at home to Juventus on Tuesday and Nantes hosting Olympiacos in the Europa League two days later.

Christophe Galtier has not felt the need to approach Kylian Mbappe about his role in a saga involving Paul Pogba and his brother Mathias.

Mathias last week posted videos online promising to publish "great revelations" about Paul, his agent and France team-mate Mbappe.

In Mathias' Twitter posts, he claimed Paul had sought out a marabout to harm Mbappe with witchcraft.

The lawyers of Juventus midfielder Paul released a statement in response, claiming Mathias' comments had followed "threats and attempts of extortion by an organised gang against Paul Pogba".

Mbappe has not commented on his unknowing part in the affair, although it was reported he had contacted both men.

Regardless, Galtier, his Paris Saint-Germain coach, is not concerned.

"Could there be an impact on his performance, on his mind? I don't think so," Galtier said. "And when I say I don't think so, I don't know, because I have not broached the subject with Kylian.

"I didn't feel the need to; he performs well in matches, he's happy in training, he's fresh."

PSG may have their own issues to deal with after reports suggested there were tensions between Luis Campos and Antero Henrique – the two men tasked with transfers – over the failure to secure permanent exits for a number of unwanted players.

Galtier laughed when he was asked directly about the relationship between Campos and Henrique, but his response did not reference the latter.

"Since I have been here, I have been in permanent contact with the president and Luis Campos," he said.

"All the strategies and plans, we developed them together."

On the state of the squad, Galtier said: "With the president and Luis Campos, we had targeted what we thought should be changed.

"I had been very direct with the players. Many players have left, many on loan, but what is important for me is to work with the group."

In the same news conference, Galtier confirmed Keylor Navas – one of those expected to depart – would now be reintegrated into the squad and "play a few matches, like all number twos".

It wasn't particularly certain we would arrive at Kylian Mbappe's five-year anniversary at Paris Saint-Germain.

For well over a year, it was widely expected the superstar forward would swap the French capital for the Spanish and join European heavyweights Real Madrid.

But, lo and behold, an eye-watering new deal that runs until June 2025 was agreed back in May, much to the fury of Madrid and the joy of the PSG faithful.

A lot has changed since 2017, not least the fact Mbappe is now a World Cup winner with France.

And yet, there is a feeling that the PSG mission is very much not accomplished, so just how do we judge Mbappe's success at the Parc des Princes thus far?
 

DOMESTIC DOMINANCE

Mbappe has won Ligue 1 in four of his five seasons with PSG, adding to the title lifted in his last year with Monaco in 2016-17, and also has three Coupe de France, two Coupe de la Ligue and two Trophee des Champions to his name.

While it has not quite been a clean sweep of honours for the Parisians, they have dominated domestically during Mbappe's time at the club and the France international has played a huge part in that.

Indeed, since making his PSG debut in September 2017, only Robert Lewandowski (185) and now team-mate Lionel Messi (203) have been directly involved in more goals across Europe's top five leagues than Mbappe's 167 – 123 goals and 44 assists.

Yet, harshly or otherwise, Mbappe's domestic achievements with PSG are often discredited due to club's sheer financial might. For all the Ligue 1 titles, it is the Champions League that is considered to be the true barometer of success for the French giants.
 

EUROPEAN SHORTCOMINGS

PSG have consistently fallen below expectations in the Champions League, coming closest to winning Europe's elite club competition in the 2019-20 season when they lost to Bayern Munich in the final in Lisbon.

The following season, PSG reached the semi-finals of the competition before losing to Manchester City. In Mbappe's other three seasons in Paris, they have fallen at the last-16 stage – most recently last term against Real Madrid.

In Mbappe's five years at the Parc des Princes, he has scored more Champions League goals than any of his team-mates, netting 27 in all, with Neymar being his closest rival in that regard with 20 goals.

While Mbappe cannot do it all himself, he must shoulder some responsibility for PSG's continental shortcomings – particularly as in his first three seasons at the club, he netted just one knockout goal in the competition.

That came in 2018-19 in the round of 16 against Manchester United, when PSG suffered elimination after the Reds Devils' remarkable comeback at the Parc des Princes.

Mbappe also failed to score in the knockout stages in 2019-20 as PSG finished runners-up in the competition, though there has been a significant upturn in the past two seasons, with the forward netting four across two legs against Barcelona in the 2020-21 last 16, including a famous hat-trick at Camp Nou, then scoring twice in the quarter-finals as PSG knocked out Bayern.

In the 2021-22 season, Mbappe repeated the feat against Real Madrid in the last 16, scoring twice, but PSG were eliminated as Karim Benzema turned the tie on its head.

All in all, nine of Mbappe's 27 Champions League goals have come in the knockout stages, eight of which have come in the last two seasons. Including the group stages, Mbappe has scored 14 goals in the past two seasons, compared to 13 in his first three years.

Yet all he has to show for it is that runners-up medal from 2020.


ANOTHER NEW ERA, DIFFERENT STORY?

With five years already under his belt as a PSG player and potentially three more to come (though Madrid will surely have something to say about that), Mbappe still has plenty left to achieve in his home city.

He is just 26 goals short of overtaking Edinson Cavani as the club's all-time record goalscorer, yet personal milestones will surely be sacrificed in pursuit of that elusive Champions League crown.

Now joined by Neymar and Messi in one of the most star-studded forward lines in history, anything less than going all the way for PSG will be deemed a massive failure – as was the case last season when the front three struggled to truly click.

Having fallen short in agonising fashion with that aforementioned defeat to Madrid in last season's knockouts, the French champions have taken a calculated gamble by replacing Mauricio Pochettino – who never truly took to the job – with former Lille and Nice boss Christophe Galtier.

Reunited with de factor sporting director Luis Campos, with whom he worked closely at Lille to help create the team that pipped PSG to the Ligue 1 title by a point in 2020-21, the Parisians have opted to take a different approach in their quest to be kings of Europe.

The early indications are positive, too, with PSG winning their opening three Ligue 1 matches and scoring 17 goals in the process – a tally only Rennes (18 goals in 1950-51) have bettered in the competition's history at that stage.

PSG were held 1-1 by Monaco last time out, however, and their impressive start has not come without its complications. Neymar and Mbappe clashed in the 5-2 win against Montpellier over who would take a penalty, and the latter was also spotted seemingly sulking in the same game after the ball was not played his way.

It appears some things may never change at PSG in that regard, but ending the club's wait for continental glory is something that simply must happen if Mbappe is to eventually bow out having achieved all he set out to at his boyhood club.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Christophe Galtier was thankful for no more penalty drama after Neymar equalised from the spot in the 1-1 draw with Monaco.

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe clashed in the 5-2 win over Montpellier on August 13 after the France international tried to take the ball off Neymar for a penalty, having already missed a spot-kick earlier in the game.

The two reportedly resolved the issue after the match, but there was potential for the situation to flare up again as PSG won another spot-kick when 1-0 down at home to Monaco on Sunday.

Neymar won it after being fouled by Guillermo Maripan, and picked himself up off the floor to fire home from 12 yards to level things up, before celebrating with Mbappe.

And Galtier was glad there was no more disagreement over penalty duties, telling Prime Video: "On this match, Kylian Mbappe was the number 1 penalty taker and Neymar was number 2.

"After talking with Kylian, I saw that he had been happy to congratulate Ney[mar]. This is how it should be.

"They are great players, it's up to them to feel it. The important thing is that he scored and that Kylian came to congratulate."

Paris Saint-Germain were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Monaco as their 100 per cent start to the season came to an end.

PSG started the first half well, but a pinpoint Kevin Volland finish past Gianluigi Donnarumma put the visitors ahead at the break.

Christophe Galtier’s team pressed for an equaliser in the second period and found one when VAR awarded a penalty for a foul on Neymar, who stepped up himself to stroke home the spot-kick.

The hosts pushed for a winner, but could not find one as Monaco held on for a point.

PSG were ultimately frustrated not to pick up all three points, while Monaco will be glad to escape the capital with a draw.

The Ligue 1 champions dominated the early possession but fell behind after 20 minutes when Volland latched onto an Aleksandr Golovin throughball before rifling into the bottom-right corner.

Monaco nearly had a second before half-time, but Donnarumma scampered across his line just in time to tip Caio Henrique’s curling free-kick wide.

PSG hit the frame of the goal twice in quick succession in first-half stoppage time as a Lionel Messi drive rebounded off the left post straight to Kylian Mbappe, whose first-time effort hit the other upright.

Wissam Ben Yedder could have made it 2-0 after the interval when Donnarumma was caught well out of his goal, but the France international’s long-range shot went over the crossbar.

Neymar and Renato Sanches both went close to levelling for the hosts, but a combination of Alexander Nubel and poor finishing maintained Monaco’s lead.

Galtier’s men finally equalised when VAR awarded a spot-kick for a Guillermo Maripan trip on Neymar. The Brazil international fired the resulting penalty into the bottom-left corner.

Monaco came under increasing pressure in the remaining minutes as PSG hunted a winner, Achraf Hakimi being denied by the post, but Philippe Clement’s team held on for an impressive point.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.