PSG strike in second half to beat Dortmund 2-0 in Champions League; defending champs City off to winning start

Forward Kylian Mbappe continued his goal-scoring streak, while right-back Achraf Hakimi found the back of the net as Paris Saint-Germain kicked off their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 win at home against Borussia Dortmund.

Mbappe broke the deadlock with a penalty in the 49th minute after a video review. Referee Jesus Gil Manzano upheld his decision, ruling that defender Niklas Sule had handled the ball from Mbappe’s shot.

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The French striker calmly placed the ball into the bottom left corner, just out of the reach of goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, marking his eighth goal in five games this season. This extended his club-record total to 220 goals in 265 games.

Nine minutes later, Kobel was beaten from close range when Hakimi exchanged passes with midfielder Vitinha, cut inside a defender, and elegantly curled the ball into the bottom left corner with the outside of his right foot.

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PSG has never won the competition. They competed last season with superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar in their attack but were eliminated in the Round of 16 for the second straight season. This led to the dismissal of coach Christophe Galtier. He was replaced by former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique.

Messi and Neymar left PSG, leaving only Mbappe from that attacking trio. He was joined by forward Randal Kolo Muani, who made his first start since joining from Eintracht Frankfurt for 95 million euros. Kolo Muani played as the central forward and was flanked by former Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele and Mbappe at Parc des Princes.

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A closely contested start to the match saw Dutch forward Donyell Malen have a shot comfortably saved by goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, and Vitinha hit the post in the 19th minute. Kolo Muani’s low strike was saved near the end of a lackluster first half.

However, after halftime, PSG looked a rejuvenated side. Dembele’s cross from the right found Mbappe, whose snapshot struck Süle’s arm as he was falling, leading to the awarded penalty despite Dortmund’s protests. Both teams had shaky starts to their domestic league campaigns. PSG are currently fifth after a recent home loss to Nice, while Dortmund are in seventh place. PSG’s susceptibility to quick counterattacks was brutally exposed by Nice in their last game.

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However, this performance showed greater composure, although Edin Terzic’s Dortmund side did not look threatening in attack.

PSG will play against Newcastle, while Dortmund will host Milan on October 4.

In the other Group F match, seven-time European champion AC Milan missed several opportunities in a goalless draw with Newcastle.

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Manchester City start off strongly

Meanwhile, Manchester City began their quest to defend the UEFA Champions League title with a 3-1 win over Serbian champions, Red Star Belgrade at the Etihad Stadium.

The Champions League holders recovered from a deficit, but a strong second-half performance, featuring two goals from Julian Alvarez and one from Rodrigo, secured the victory against the Serbian champs.

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Red Star initially took the lead just before halftime when Osman Bukari’s goal was allowed after a VAR review for offside. Erling Haaland hit the crossbar with a header, and visiting goalkeeper Omri Glazer made a series of saves before Bukari broke through to surprise Ederson and give his team an unexpected lead.

However, Alvarez quickly levelled the score for City just 73 seconds into the second half, and his free-kick, around the hour mark, which appeared more as a cross than a shot, eluded everyone to complete the comeback. Then, Rodrigo, who scored the decisive goal in June’s final, sealed the result with a skilful finish in the 73rd minute.

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City are now unbeaten in 27 consecutive Champions League home matches at the Etihad. The winning streak dates back to September 2018.

Glazer made an impressive 13 saves, marking the first time a goalkeeper has recorded ten or more saves in a Champions League match since Kamil Grabara for Copenhagen in October 2022, also against Manchester City.

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Provedel unlikely hero in Lazio’s 1-1 draw against Atletico

Lazio’s goalkeeper Ivan Provedel made a remarkable last-minute contribution by heading in the equaliser in stoppage time, securing a 1-1 draw for the Roman club against Atletico Madrid.

In the final moments of the match at the Stadio Olimpico, Provedel connected a cross from Luis Alberto to deliver a precise header. This was redemption for Provedel after conceding a goal to Pablo Barrios for Atletico in the first half. Barrios benefited from a deflection off Lazio midfielder Daichi Kamada.

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In the other Group E match, Feyenoord secured a 2-0 win over Celtic.

While Atletico has been a consistent presence in the Champions League group stage for the 11th consecutive time, Lazio’s participation marks only the second time in 16 seasons. Lazio created several scoring opportunities, with Mattia Zaccagni and Luis Alberto coming close on multiple occasions.

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Additionally, Ciro Immobile missed a chance to capitalise on a poor pass from Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak in the second half. The latter then made a diving save to deflect a long-range shot from Danilo Cataldi in stoppage time just before Provedel’s game-changing goal.

Lazio were without left-back Luca Pellegrini, who out with an injury in the first half.

 

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