Football

Messi, Mbappe hitting it off for Paris Saint-Germain

Lionel Messi has scored three goals for Paris Saint-Germain, all of them in the Champions League, and he has Kylian Mbappe to thank for the lot.

Mbappe, who scored one and created two more for Messi in a 3-2 win over RB Leipzig at the Parc des Princes yesterday morning (Singapore time), has played a vital role in the Argentinian's adaptation on the pitch.

His clever flick set up Messi for his first goal in last month's 2-0 win over Manchester City.

At 2-1 down against Leipzig, he fed Messi for their second-half equaliser and won the penalty that Messi converted for PSG's third goal.

Earlier, Mbappe had given PSG a ninth-minute lead, but Leipzig scored twice through Andre Silva and Nordi Mukiele.

In the absence of Messi and Neymar, Mbappe had taken PSG's previous spot-kick against Angers in Ligue 1, but the 22-year-old said it was normal for him to let the former Barcelona star take over spot-kick duties against Leipzig.

But, when PSG were awarded another spot-kick in stoppage time, Messi let Mbappe step up.

"It's normal, it's respect. He's the best player in the world, it's a privilege he plays with us, I've always said it," said Mbappe.

"There's a penalty, he takes it, period. For the second, he said, 'Take it'."

Mbappe missed the injury-time spot-kick, skying his effort over the bar, the only negative on a brilliant outing.

"It is true that we must do better. For the moment, we are not playing well but we are winning," Mbappe told broadcaster RMC Sport.

PSG have seven points and lead City by one point in Group A after Pep Guardiola's men hammered Club Brugge 5-1 away.

In Group D, Real Madrid's Vinicius Jr scored twice to lead his side to a 5-0 win against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Real opened the scoring after a Serhiy Kryvtsov own goal. After Vinicius' brace, Rodrygo netted the fourth and Karim Benzema completed the rout in stoppage time, on the eve of his trial in France.

Benzema was charged with complicity in the attempted blackmail of former international teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.

Real are second on six points, level with leaders Sheriff Tiraspol, who lost 3-1 at Inter Milan. The Italian side have four points. - AFP, REUTERS

Football