Home Football Messi sets new Champions League record in PSG’s 3-1 defeat of Maccabi

Messi sets new Champions League record in PSG’s 3-1 defeat of Maccabi

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A 3-1 defeat of Maccabi Haifa by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday saw Lionel Messi make history in the competition.

PSG were given a scare when Tjaronn Chery put the Israeli home team 1-0 up on 24 minutes.

Less than a quarter of an hour later, however, Messi equalized when bringing down and tapping in a Kylian Mbappe cross from close range. 

With this, Messi broke not one but two records and primarily became the player that has scored against the most teams (39) in the competition by pulling ahead of generational rival Cristiano Ronaldo (38).

Furthermore, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner also pipped another former Real Madrid foe from his FC Barcelona days by becoming the first player to score in the UCL in 18 different seasons.

Messi has achieved this by hitting the back of the net in every single campaign since 2005/06, when he helped Barca win their second European Cup in Paris alongside Ronaldinho.

His nearest rival Karim Benzema, on 17 consecutive seasons, could pull level again during Madrid’s defense of the crown, although the Frenchman was an injury absentee from the Spanish giants’ 2-0 win against RB Leipzig at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

While Messi’s Madrid-born teammate of Moroccan and Muslim origin Achraf Hakimi was booed by the supporters in the Sammy Ofer Stadium for his previous vocal support of the Palestinian plight, Messi went viral for the adoration he received from the match mascots. 

As the Ligue 1 giants lined up to hear the Champions League anthem before kick-off, Messi was mobbed by starstruck youngsters with jaws agape who blew him kisses and received a hug from their hero with footage of the incident already seen well over three million times.

Elsewhere, the headlines were grabbed by Erling Haaland for an acrobatic late winner against old club Borussia Dortmund at the Etihad for home side Manchester City.

The Premier League holders had gone 1-0 down and looked flat against their hosts, but a screamer from center back John Stones gave them momentum which Joao Cancelo capitalized on by pinging a delicious outside-of-boot pass to the Norwegian on 84 minutes that Haaland turned home with the sole of his boot to make it 2-1. 

In London, City’s domestic rivals Chelsea again struggled by mustering a 1-1 draw with Red Bull Salzburg in new manager Graham Potter’s debut after initially pulling in front through Raheem Sterling.

Though the Blues have only won three of eight outings this season, any talk of a crisis pales in comparison to that being suffered by Juventus who fell at home 2-1 to Benfica despite gaining an early advantage through an Arkadiusz Milik opener on four minutes.

Like rock bottom Group A strugglers Rangers, who lost 3-0 to Napoli, Juve are winless in Group H and face Maccabi Haifa next in what at present looks like the battle for third place and Europa League qualification.