Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah score two each in Champions League goal rush

Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah score two each in Champions League goal rush

Lionel Messi of Paris Saint Germain celebrates his sides second goal during the Group A - UEFA Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig at the Parc des Princes on October 19, 2021 in Paris, France.

Lionel Messi and record-breaker Mohamed Salah converted coolly taken penalties to seal 3-2 wins for Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool amid a goal rush on a wild night in the Champions League. Thirty-five goals were scored across eight group games on Tuesday — at an average of nearly 4.4 per match — as Real Madrid and Manchester City grabbed five each. 

There was also another goal for the competition’s surprise top scorer, Sebastien Haller, in a big win for Ajax. Messi is saving his goals for the Champions League in his first season at PSG. 

The Argentina star rescued the French club in its 3-2 win over Leipzig, equalizing in the 67th and then producing a cheeky “Panenka” penalty down the middle to complete PSG’s comeback. 

Messi, whose only other goal for PSG came in a Champions League win over Man City last month, even passed up the opportunity for a hat trick when PSG was awarded another penalty in stoppage time. Kylian Mbappe took it instead — and smashed it over the crossbar. 

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool evades a tackle from Geoffrey Kondogbia of Atletico Madrid during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Atletico Madrid and Liverpool FC at Wanda Metropolitano on October 19, 2021 in Madrid, Spain.

Salah became the first player in Liverpool’s 129-year history to score in nine straight games, netting an early deflected goal and then stroking in a 78th-minute penalty to clinch a 3-2 victory at Atletico Madrid.

There was more late penalty drama in that game, too, with Atletico — down to 10 men following the red card to Antoine Griezmann after his two goals — seeing a spot kick awarded and then overturned after a referee check on the pitchside monitor. 

Liverpool is one of two teams on a maximum nine points from three games and already on the verge of advancing. The other is Ajax, which overwhelmed Borussia Dortmund in a 4-0 win in Amsterdam with Haller heading in the fourth goal for his sixth of the competition. 

Vinicius Junior, a 21-year-old Brazilian, inspired Madrid's 5-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk with two goals — one coming from a wonderful, slaloming solo run — and an assist. 

Another of the world’s brightest young talents, Phil Foden, was behind City’s 5-1 win at Club Brugge. There was mixed fortunes for the Milan clubs, with Inter beating Moldovan upstart Sheriff 3-1 for a first win of the group stage and AC Milan losing 1-0 at Porto to stay winless.

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