Messi, Ronaldo score in PSG’s 5-4 win vs. Riyadh All-Stars originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
For old time’s sake.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo took the field as opponents in what may have been the last installment of their riveting rivalry, though the stakes were nowhere as monumental as their previous showdowns.
Messi and Paris Saint-Germain faced off against Ronaldo and the Riyadh All-Stars – comprising players from Al Nassr and Al Hilal of the Saudi Pro League – in a 5-4 friendly on Thursday that proved both chaotic and mesmerizing.
It took just three minutes for the highlights to start rolling. And, of course, Messi opened the scoring, the first of a nine-goal affair. From the left half-space, Neymar lobbed a through ball over four defenders with the outside of his right foot, and Messi ran onto it to finish in between the goalie and left back.
Ronaldo then had his say in the 34th minute via penalty. PSG goalie Keylor Navas came out of his line to punch the ball away, but he ended up connecting with a leaping Ronaldo that drew the spot kick. Ronaldo then drilled the attempt past Navas towards the right-middle corner.
Then, despite PSG left back Juan Bernat’s red card in the 39th minute, center back Marquinhos gave the French side the lead in the 43rd. Kylian Mbappé sent in a cross from the left flank that the Brazilian defender latched onto.
PSG could’ve boosted its lead to 3-1 in stoppage time before halftime, but Neymar missed a penalty. Ronaldo then went the other way and, off a miscue from former Real Madrid teammate Sergio Ramos, equalized with his left foot.
The second-half action ramped up within eight minutes, as Mbappé tallied his second assist of the game to another center back. This time, Ramos compensated for his earlier mistake to give PSG the 3-2 lead, only for Jang Hyun-soo to equalize off a header for the Riyadh XI three minutes later.
In the 60th minute, Mbappé penned his name onto the score sheet via a penalty after Messi’s shot inside the box hit a defender’s arm to make it 4-3.
Ronaldo was substituted shortly after, followed by Messi, Neymar and Mbappé a minute later.
Then just under 20 minutes later in the 78th minute, 20-year-old French striker Hugo Ekitiké sealed the deal with a powerful finish on the counter attack.
Anderson Talisca added one more for the All-Stars in the fourth minute of stoppage time, but the team fell one goal short.
Ronaldo could next take the field for Al Nassr when the team plays Ettifaq on Sunday in the Saudi Pro League, while Messi and Co. could be back for Monday’s contest against Pays de Cassel in the French Cup, unless manager Cristophe Galtier opts to rotate and use youngsters.