Paris Saint-Germain 7-2 Maccabi Haifa: Player ratings as inspired Messi hits brace

Mitch Wilks
PSG were just too good
PSG were just too good / Soccrates Images/GettyImages
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Paris Saint-Germain secured their place in the Champions League knockout stages with a rampant 7-2 win over Maccabi Haifa.

On an evening where very little would've been expected from the visitors, PSG respected the opposition and did their best to race into an early need. Lo and behold, they managed to do that with each of their infamous front three all getting on the scoresheet. Maccabi pulled one back before the half-time whistle, but Les Parisiens cancelled it out in an end-to-end 45 minutes.

A resilient display from the visitors earned them another goal early on in the second half, but Les Parisiens simply had too much for them to deal with. Their embarrassment of attacking riches proved priceless, putting the game to bed as it became more stretched.

Smoke from various pyrotechnics swallowed the Parc des Princes and brought a brief halt to the start of the game after a few minutes. Neither the delay nor the impromptu fireworks display deterred the hosts, though, who dominated from the off as expected. Neymar picked out Fabian Ruiz inside the penalty area with a brilliant pass after 10 minutes, but he somehow dragged his shot wide.

Ruiz was again in the box after 20 minutes and played a key role as PSG took the lead. He combined with Mbappe and Messi, before the Frenchman laid into Messi's path who exquisitely guided the ball in for 1-0.

Just as Maccabi were trying to work themselves into the game, Christophe Galtier's side punished them on the break. Mbappe played an exquisite exchange with Neymar, and used a touch of fortune to wrap his foot around a loose ball and bend it into the top corner for 2-0.

Neymar was enjoying another spectacular evening and added a third mere minutes after setting up Mbappe, latching onto a pass from Messi and finding the goal via the far post. That goal was very quickly cancelled out, though, as Abdoulaye Seck headed in from a free-kick.

Messi was in the mood tonight, and continued to roll back the years as he bagged a brace in vintage fashion, slaloming away from two defenders and tucking away a low shot.

Maccabi simply would not lie down, and Seck headed in a second minutes after the break when PSG made a mess of defending a corner.

Christophe Galtier's side settled down after a hectic restart, though, and began to take the sting out of proceedings. Mbappe was yet to get in on the act of scoring, but finally did so just after an hour, killing a switch of play and brushing the ball into the top corner in supreme fashion.

Five became six swiftly after when Neymar danced to the touchline and squared a ball, that deflected in off Sean Goldberg for an own goal.

The hosts had clicked into a frightening gear, with Messi looking back to his superhuman self. He wasn't done with his brace, and put the ball on a plate for Carlos Soler to make it 7-1 in the closing stages, securing their place in the knockout stages in tremendous style.


Paris Saint-Germain ratings vs Maccabi Haifa - Champions League

1. PSG (4-3-3)

Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos
Still strange, isn't it? / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma - 5/10 - Made a mess of the free-kick that allowed Maccabi to score; too indecisive.

RB: Achraf Hakimi - 5/10 - Lost his balance when bursting into the box to latch onto Neymar pass after the break. A chance you'd have expected him to do better with.

CB: Sergio Ramos - 5/10 - Still dusting off the cobwebs. An important presence, but not his best performance.

CB: Marquinhos - 6/10 - Improved as the game went on and showed his athleticism.

LB: Juan Bernat - 6/10 - Fired a handful of nice passes into midfield and linked up well with Mbappe.

CM: Fabian Ruiz - 7/10 - A confident performance. Ruiz burst forward to join attacks efficiently and caused havoc in the penalty area with his runs from deep.

CM: Vitinha - 6/10 - Continues to grow in confidence after a slow start in Paris.

CM: Renato Sanches - 6/10 - Perhaps playing him and Vitinha in the same game isn't the brightest idea, particularly without Marco Verratti behind them. The midfield lacked defensive security.

RW: Lionel Messi - 10/10 - Genius finish to open the scoring, which set the tone for an unforgettable night. Regardless of the opposition, Messi was at his unplayable best. Absolutely immense. Perhaps his best performance in a PSG shirt to date.

ST: Kylian Mbappe - 8/10 - Supreme composure to settle a tricky ball and pick out Messi for the opener. Had to get on the scoresheet himself, though, and did it in majestic style.

LW: Neymar - 9/10 - The glue that knits PSG together right now. Exerted passion and an incredible vision, but also threw in a few touches of his signature flair. Joyous.

SUB: Carlos Soler (68' for Sanches) - 7/10 - Bagged his first goal for the club off the bench.

SUB: Warren Zaire-Emery (79' for Vitinha) - N/A

SUB: Hugo Ekitike (79' for Mbappe) - N/A

SUB: Presnel Kimpembe (79' for Marquinhos) - N/A

SUB: Pablo Sarabia (83' for Ruiz) - N/A

Manager: Christophe Galtier - 9/10 - Respected the opponents who didn't go down without a fight, but what's more impressive is how Galtier has got his front three firing. It's electric, and that's with all the Mbappe drama that won't go away.

Player of the Match - Lionel Messi

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