The under-pressuremanager Massimiliano Allegri begged his players to put forth a strong performance on Wednesday even though they were already eliminated from Champions League knockout stage contention. Kylian Mbappe led Paris Saint-Germain to a 2-1 victory over an inspired Juventus side on Wednesday, but they were still left disappointed in Group H. They would at least qualify for the Europa League if they achieved a result that was equal to or better than Maccabi Haifa elsewhere.
The Bianconeri responded with vigor and pride, and at times the visiting PSG struggled to keep them under control. Despite Kylian Mbappe’s first-half individual brilliance, Leonardo Bonucci of Juve would score a leveling goal. For the first hour, Christophe Galtier’s team lacked cohesion, and once again, questions about his talented but perhaps overly individualistic squad surfaced.
Nuno Mendes was let through for PSG’s second goal after Mbappe seemingly realized Benfica had climbed to the top after winning the other Group H encounter. Benfica scored five goals in the second half, including one in stoppage time, and miraculously knocked PSG off the top spot in the group stage for away goals scored. PSG in Turin needed to have scored a third goal to win, but they were unable to do so. A club that was hoping to win the Champions League for the first time was extremely disappointed by the outcome.
The Performing Side:
Kylian Mbappe: It’s simple to argue that Mbappe isn’t worth the hassle for PSG off the field particularly when information about interpersonal conflicts with teammates is coming to light. But when he is gliding past opponents and scoring beautiful goals, those objections quickly vanish. Or when he uses a pass to divide the defense while slipping past teammate Nuno Mendes. Mbappe’s off-field troubles can lower morale, but his performance against Juventus demonstrated his elite skills. He frequently alters matches for PSG.
Marquinhos: How impressive was the Brazilian’s block in the 34th minute! It seemed like Juventus’ teenager Fabio Miretti would take forever to line up a free kick in the box with a 1-0 advantage. Marquinhos, however, suddenly charged in to foil his plan and save the day. Although the centre-back’s performance wasn’t flawless, he nonetheless demonstrated his value less than a week after being called upon to act as a substitute against Troyes because Presnel Kimpembe was having trouble before to his entry. But Marquinhos is always a steadfast presence and is quickly becoming a legend in Paris.
Nuno Mendes: Nuno Mendes is 20 years old, but he occasionally acts younger. He’s still getting used to life at one of the top clubs in the world. This requires time. However, when acting solely on impulse, without any overthinking, he is electric. The stunning element of his game-winning goal was his quickness to find space to fire beyond the defense after Mbappe pushed a wonderful pass into his path. Even for a wing-back, it would be a great moment. After colliding with Marco Verratti, he later sustained injuries, so let’s hope his withdrawal was just preemptive.
The Losing Side:
Marco Verratti: The elegant Italian playmaker always looks impeccable, but on Wednesday he was uncharacteristically clumsy. Marquinhos had to make a last-ditch block as a result of his turnover in the first half, and his reading of the game while in possession was less accurate than normal. Without Verratti performing at his peak, PSG will find it difficult to win the Champions League.
Fabian Ruiz: Ruiz was forced to leave the game in the first 25 minutes due to an injury sustained during a challenge on Adrien Rabiot. Ruiz joined from Napoli over the summer and is still getting used to life in the French capital. He is not experiencing the leveling-up he had anticipated upon beginning the campaign, and he is no longer the main attraction. His prior side also looks great.
Massimiliano Allegri: Even since Maccabi Haifa also lost, Juventus still qualified for the Europa League, making the head coach’s outcome all the more devastating. Juventus was attacked by Allegri in a way they haven’t been this year very often. He’ll be miffed that he left with absolutely nothing to say. He might also worry that the result will put him one step closer to getting fired.
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