PSG brings Maccabi Haifa down to earth with 7-2 victory

Oct 25, 2022 | Football

Paris St. Germain walloped Maccabi Haifa 7-2 in a goalfest of a game that featured three braces in UEFA Champions League action at Parc Des Princes in France. The hosts scored early and often as both Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe each potted a pair of goals for the Parisians while defender Abdoulaye Seck did the same for the Greens. Prior to the match, the President of PSG Nasser Al-Khelaifi met with his Haifa counterpart Yakov Shachar as the two exchanged gifts and dined as is customary prior to the European contest. 

With over 5,000 Maccabi Haifa supporters having painted the city of Paris green ahead of the game, high hopes that their squad would be able to duplicate or better their first meeting against PSG back in Israel when Barak Bachar’s team fell 3-1. In addition, a 2-0 victory at home versus Juventus gave the club a sense that the improbable was possible. 

Leo Messi – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

However, Messi broke the ice in the 19th minute with his first goal of the game which was quickly followed up by Mbappe’s opener as well soon thereafter. Neymar joined the party as he beat Greens keeper Josh Cohen in the 25th minute, but central defender Abdoulaye Seck pulled a goal back for Barak Bachar’s squad to cut the lead to 3-1. However, Messi took a Mbappe ball and scored from 25 meters out just ahead of the break to take a 4-1 advantage into the second half. 

Seck scored yet again to move to within two goals at 4-2 in the 50th minute but Mbappe put the ball into the back of the goal and Sean Goldberg redirected a Neymar shot to go up 6-2. Carlos Soler then finished off the game with a goal of his own in the 84th minute to take a 7-2 victory. 

Photo Credit: Maccabi Haifa

Haifa still control their own destiny and can advance to the Europa League knockout stages with a win at home over Benfica next week back at Sammy Ofer Stadium in order to finish ahead of Juventus in third place. The Italian giants fell to Benfica 4-3 as the Portuguese side along with PSG are atop of the group with 11 points a piece. A draw would be enough to see the Greens through as long as Juventus falls in their home match against PSG. 

“This game was against the greatest players in the world,” Bachar said. “There were minutes where we thought we could come back into the game but it wasn’t meant to be. We did the maximum and this game wasn’t at out home at Sammy Ofer Stadium. We tried to make adjustments but it just didn’t work. Right now we have to focus on Ashdod who we face on Saturday in the Israeli league and then get ready for Benfica at home next week. The fans were great and we are very appreciative of their support.”

“Our goal was to advance to the next stage of the competition and that is what we did,” explained PSG head coach Christophe Galtier. We have one more game and it will be very important for us to win in order to finish in first place. We played fantastic soccer and we were just superb but it would be presumptuous to think that we gave the best team in the world despite the trio of players we have in front.”

Photo Credit: Maccabi Haifa

Haifa captain Neta Lavi spoke about the heavy defeat, “The quality determined this game and there wasn’t much we could do but we are very happy that our supporters were here with us. This wasn’t easy for us but we have to continue on and are aware as to the gap in quality. Perhaps we can play against PSG once again next season.” 

Abdoulaye Seck also reflected on the game that was, “It’s not easy to be a defender in this type of game and there as a lot of ground to cover especially when you play against players like Messi, Neymar and Mbappe. We knew that anything is possible but it wasn’t meant to be. It’s not easy to score a brace for a defender and we will give 150% against Benfica and will play our hardest in that game.”

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