Paris Saint-Germain have started to warm up for their UEFA Champions League round of 16 clash with Real Madrid with a 5-1 thrashing of French titleholders Lille OSC at Stade Pierre Mauroy on Sunday evening. Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe both scored in the lopsided victory.
LOSC goalkeeper Ivo Grbic gifted Mauricio Pochettino’s visitors the opening goal through Danilo Pereira inside of 10 minutes. Lille equalized through Sven Botman in the 28th minute, but it was all PSG from there.
Les Dogues never got close again with Messi providing for Presnel Kimpembe to re-establish the lead just four minutes later, and the Argentine superstar scored himself with a deft chip six minutes later.
PSG needed just six second-half minutes before Pereira doubled his tally with a deflected effort from distance after Leandro Paredes had fed him the ball. Mbappe capped the scoring midway through the second half with a clinical finish from Marco Verratti’s pass.
“It was important after we took a 5-1 thumping here a few years ago,” the French superstar post-match in Lille, referencing a game from April 2019. “It was a complete performance. We started well and it is encouraging.”
“Leo is a player who needs to feel the game,” Mbappe added about Messi. “He can feel his way into games, but I think the middle suits him well as he can be more involved and freer. I can also play everywhere — right, left, and middle. For now, we are fine, but we also must figure it out with Neymar as he is an important player who changes the team. We will see when he is back — we hope as soon as possible.”
Finally, Les Parisiens have woken up and another challenging fixture against Stade Rennais could be perfect preparation for a clash against Real Madrid in the Champions League on Feb. 15.
“I think that playing against Real changes many things, despite being free to do whatever I want to right now. I do not want to talk to the opponent or do that sort of thing,” said Mbappe, who has been heavily linked with a Real move in the summer. “I am focused on winning against Real and making the difference. We will see what happens.”
Lille look a shadow of the team which beat PSG to the title last season under Christophe Galtier and they will fear for their Champions League campaign with Chelsea to come in what looks likely to be an extremely difficult two-legged affair. All Champions League action can be streamed on Paramount+.