Kylian Mbappe and a Lionel Messi in vintage form both scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain crushed Israel’s Maccabi Haifa 7-2 on Tuesday to secure a place in the last 16 of this season’s Champions League with one group game to spare.
Neymar was on target too, and the Brazilian also forced an own goal from Maccabi defender Sean Goldberg before Carlos Soler completed the rout as the Parisians netted seven times in a Champions League game for the first time since November 2017.
The win means PSG have qualified from Group H along with Benfica, although it will go down to next week’s final matchday to decide who advances in first place and therefore benefits from a theoretically kinder draw in the next round.
Maccabi Haifa, who saw Senegalese defender Abdoulaye Seck score both of their goals, are eliminated along with Juventus but the Israeli champions could still pip the Italian giants to third place and Europa League football after the break for the World Cup.
The upcoming tournament in Qatar is surely a factor in the outstanding early-season form of Messi and Neymar in particular, and along with Mbappe they turned on the style to leave Maccabi regularly looking dazed and confused in defence.
Mbappe’s latest goals — his fifth and sixth in this season’s Champions League taking him to 16 in all competitions — came a day after reports emerged in France of the eye-watering details of his new contract at PSG.