Champions League: Roberto Firmino's late winner for Liverpool stuns PSG

Roberto Firmino's eye for a goal enabled last season's beaten finalists Liverpool to win the first heavyweig...

Posted: Sep 19, 2018 8:55 AM
Updated: Sep 19, 2018 8:55 AM

Roberto Firmino's eye for a goal enabled last season's beaten finalists Liverpool to win the first heavyweight clash of this season's Champions League as the Brazilian came off the bench to score a last-gasp winner in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Paris Saint-Germain.

In front of a raucous Anfield crowd basking in their side's stellar start to the new season -- Liverpool have won all five of their English Premier League games -- Jurgen Klopp's team led 2-1 late into the match until French World Cup hero Kylian Mbappe equalized after a clever pass from Neymar.

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It was PSG's first shot on target in the second half, but Brazilian Firmino, on the bench after sustaining a nasty eye injury in Saturday's 2-1 league win over Tottenham Hotspur, rifled home a right foot shot in injury time.

It was thoroughly deserved as despite the close scoreline, PSG's much-vaunted trio of Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani struggled to make an impression.

Daniel Sturridge, almost the forgotten man at Liverpool, took advantage of a rare start in place of Firmino to open the scoring with a bullet header as the home side dominated the early play.

James Milner added the second from the penalty spot after 36 minutes before Thomas Meunier pulled one back for PSG despite the suspicion of offside in the build-up.

Mo Salah had the ball in the net, but disallowed for a foul on goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, before his mistake allowed Neymar to play in Mbappe and make it 2-2.

But in the second minute of added time, Firmino struck to leave Liverpool's 100% record at the start of this season's campaign intact. The Brazilian celebrated appropriately -- by covering one eye.

'This team (PSG) is built for winning the Champions League. They have unbelievable quality," said Klopp as he reflected on the strength of the French side and the importance of his side's win.

"We scored wonderful goals, they were thunderballs," he added.

Red Star Belgrade and Napoli drew 0-0 in the other Group C game.

Messi hat-trick

Earlier Tuesday, Lionel Messi scored the first goal of this season's Champions League on his way to his eighth career hat-trick in the competition as Barcelona kicked off its campaign with a 4-0 rout of PSV Eindhoven in the Nou Camp.

His sublime free-kick from the edge of the area opened Barca's account in the first half after Dutch side PSV had made a bright start and might have been ahead.

The Catalan giants pulled clear in the second half after 21-year-old Ousmane Dembele's dazzling run and strike put the home side 2-0 up and effectively out of sight.

Messi connected with a lob from Ivan Rakitic to claim his second before Barcelona had Samuel Umtiti sent off for a cynical foul on Hirving Lozano.

Down to 10 men, it was of little concern to last season's Spanish double winners as Luis Suarez set up Messi for his hat-trick with a clever flick.

Messi has also pulled one clear of Cristiano Ronaldo in the tally of Champions League hat-tricks, Ronaldo making his debut for Juventus in the competition Wednesday against Valencia after his summer move from Real Madrid.

The Argentine also maintained his incredible record of scoring in every Champions League competition since 2005, taking his overall tally to 103.

Inter strike late

In the other early kickoff, there was a fairytale return to Europe's premier club competition after an absence of seven years for Inter Milan as two late goals secured a 2-1win against Tottenham Hotspur.

Tottenham looked set to extend Inter's dismal start to the Serie A season under Luciano Spalletti as it led through a deflected effort from Christian Eriksen until the 86th minute.

But a stunning Mauro Icardi volley saw Inter draw level and with Tottenham wobbling it was Matias Vecino who added a dramatic injury-time winner as he nodded home from a corner that was the visitors failed to be cleared.

Cue pandemonium in the San Siro amid bitter disappointment for Spurs which looked in command after Eriksen's goal, but slipped to a third straight defeat after winning its opening three English Premier League games.

"We dominated but of course it's so cruel," said manager Mauricio Pochettino.

It was also another frustrating night for World Cup leading scorer Harry Kane, his fourth game without a goal and missing an excellent first half opportunity after being played through by the influential Eriksen.

By contrast, Spalletti was delighted by their late smash and grab raid. "That's exactly what the fans want to see," he said."Icardi scored a magnificent goal. The team had a great game and really went for it in the end."

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