Messi, Mbappe on target, PSG pip Ronaldo's Saudi All-Stars XI in 9-goal thriller | Football News - Hindustan Times
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Messi, Mbappe on target as PSG edge past Ronaldo-led Saudi All-Stars XI in 9-goal thriller at Riyadh

By, New Delhi
Jan 20, 2023 08:02 AM IST

There was no shortage of goals as the star-studded trio of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe each found the back of the net but in the end, it was PSG, who outscored Saudi All-Stars XI 5-4 in a classic friendly tie that will go down in history.

There was no shortage of goals as the star-studded trio of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe each found the back of the net but in the end, it was PSG, who outscored Saudi All-Stars XI 5-4 in a classic friendly tie that will go down in history. Messi, Ronaldo and Mbappe each got an hour to enthrall the Riyadh crowd, and they did not disappoint. Messi opened the scoring by nailing one just a minute after the first whistle before a brace from Ronaldo and Mbappe each gave the fans plenty to savour on an unforgettable night of football.

The star-studded trio of Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi sizzled(Getty Images)
The star-studded trio of Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi sizzled(Getty Images)

The first-half 45 minutes was a breathless one. It was Messi and Ronaldo who register themselves on the scoring sheet, two penalties out of which one was saved and a shocking red card. Three minutes into the match, Messi silenced Ronaldo's home crowd. After a brilliant interplay between Mbappe and Neymar, Messi caught the chip and slotted it into the net. Twenty-nine minutes later, Keylor Navas inadvertently caught Ronaldo in the air with a forearm, resulting in a penalty, which the star forward successfully converted – slashed into the top corner - to equalise. Out came the SIUUUUU!

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If Navas getting booked wasn't enough, Juan Bernat was shown the red card, leaving PSG down to 10 men. But being a player down hardly mattered for PSG, who restored the lead with Marquinhos delightfully chipping from a corner cross. PSG could have then put the game to bed but Mbappe missed his first real chance to deny his team a third. Then came the biggest shocker of the match – when Neymar unbelievably missed a penalty. With a host of additional time added, Ronaldo sprung into action again and pouched on a rebound after his header hit the bar to make it a thrilling 2-2 scoreline at half-time.

Seven minutes into the second half, Sergio Ramos read an exceptional pass from Mbappe for PSG to nose ahead, but minutes later Jang Hyun-Soo shot one past Navas to once again bring the game to an even keel. Goals continued to galore with Mbappe converting a penalty with ease before the fabled trio of the Frenchman, Messi and Ronaldo were substituted between the 60th and 61st minute. At 4-3, PSG were ahead but given the number of goals that had been scored and with half an hour left on the clock, who knew how many more were to come?

The answer though was one. Substitute Hugo Ekitike ran clear and finished with aplomb in the 78th minute to give PSG a precautionary goal and in all likelihood, the last of the game. Or so it seemed. With four additional minutes signalled, a snapshot from Andre Carillo went sailing over the bar but Anderson Talisca had other plans and reduced the deficit with a last-minute goal before the final whistle went off.

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