PSG vs. Juventus score: Kylian Mbappe brace leads Paris Saint-Germain to Champions League victory

If Kylian Mbappe can continue to lead the line as he did tonight, this may be the year that PSG can finally find a breakthrough in Champions League play. Mbappe opened the scoring in the fifth minute following a dime of an assist from Neymar en route to a 2-1 victory Tuesday over Juventus at the Parc des Princes in Paris. Mbappe doubled his tally from an Acharaf Hakimi assist in the 22nd minute before Massimo Allegri knew what hit him.

After subbing Weston McKennie into the match at the half for Fabio Miretti — who had an anonymous first half before picking up a yellow — things did pick up in a big way for Juventus. It only took eight minutes of McKennie being on the pitch for him to find Juventus’ first goal with a header from Filip Kostic’s cross, but it wouldn’t be enough and Juventus couldn’t find an equalizer. They created plenty of chances when Kostic was pushed into more advanced positions but they couldn’t find the finishing touch for an equalizer.

Things weren’t perfect for Christophe Galtier as his defense has work to do but it’s a positive result versus PSG’s toughest test of the season so far. There were also times when Mbappe was searching for his hat trick instead of passing to his teammates but with more time, these should be ironed out. When you can score goals like Mbappe does though, shooting isn’t the worst thing that can happen.

Take a look at PSG’s opening goal:

Books can be written about Neymar’s dink and Mbappe’s finish but PSG will need more inventiveness between their front three to secure their goal of a Champions League title. Last season under Mauricio Pochettino, that wasn’t something that happened regularly but if the dynamic trio is in sync under Galtier, the sky is the limit for the team, especially with Gianluigi Donnarumma giving the team room for error on the defensive end.

Here are a few takeaways from the match:

Set play McKennie

McKennie started the match on the bench and his absence showed as Leandro Paredes was the only central midfielder to impact the game in the first half. With McKennie’s introduction for Miratti, Juventus’ team play improved. They only held 37% possession in the first half compared to things being even in the second half while McKennie scored a headed goal and took another shot. McKennie only misplaced two passes and brought an important defensive presence to the pitch with four recoveries and winning a tackle in his 45-minute shift.

After a match like this, it will be hard for Allegri to drop McKennie when he’s healthy. His energy is infectious and his understanding with Kostic — who was Juventus’ most important player — helped both succeed even if the score wasn’t level in the end.

Inspired Neymar

While Neymar only had one assist to show for his game, he was one of the best players on the pitch for either team. Neymar created four chances and took four shots, putting two on target in an electric match for the Brazilian. Back to his best ahead of the World Cup, Neymar has already been lighting up Ligue 1 with seven goals and six assists in six matches, and if he can bring even half of that to Champions League play, PSG can go on quite the run this season. They created three big chances and scored on two of them which bodes well as Juventus left themselves open but overall didn’t play a bad match.

Room for improvement

Both teams will take away important lessons from this match. Juventus had their chances early as Arkadiusz Milik had a few good headers but the way that the team fell asleep after and allowed PSG to counter is something that Allegri will need to stamp out. With a stronger midfield performance and Juventus would likely have gotten a point but instead, they left with none. It’s a fine result considering they played PSG but it also shows how far Juventus still have to go if they’d like to return to rubbing shoulders with the world’s elite.

Galtier’s defense gave Donnarumma far too much work to do even though he only had three saves to make. Facing 12 crosses and 13 shots, there were plenty of times that things could’ve gone awry if he wasn’t strong in the box as anything that got past Marco Verrartti likely turned into a shot. No center back attempted more than one tackle during the match and only Marquinhos won an aerial duel despite the central defenders facing seven during the match. Against an in-form Juventus, this is a different result, but it shows why PSG wanted Milan Skrinar during the summer. The defense could be this team’s undoing and it’s up to Galtier to prevent that.

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