PSG beat Riyadh XI 5-4: Fans witness Messi magic, Ronaldo's Siuu, red card, Mbappe penalty & more in thriller
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo faced each other for the first time since December 2020, and football lovers were entertained as PSG lifted the Riyadh Season Cup after defeating a combined XI of Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal stars 5-4 in a friendly encounter.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi encounters never fail to disappoint. The two legends of football faced each other in a friendly exhibition between Riyadh XI, comprising of Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal stars, against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the King Fahd International Stadium on Thursday night.
After a thrilling encounter, the French giants lifted the Riyadh Season Cup after a 5-4 win over the Ronaldo-led side. However, fans of the Portuguese talisman and Al-Nassr's new star would be pleased to see the arrival of 'Siuuu' on Saudi Arabian soil as they await his debut in the Saudi Pro League.
For PSG - Messi 3′, Marquinhos 43′, Ramos 54′, Mbappe (PEN) 60′, Ekitike 78'
For Riyadh Season Team XI - Ronaldo (PEN) 33′, 40+6′, Jang 56', Talisca 90+4′
The match, which garnered massive enthusiasm among football enthusiasts, witnessed Ronaldo face arch-rival Lionel Messi for the first time since their Champions League encounter between Juventus and Barcelona in December 2020. Apart from Ronaldo, spectators also saw iconic PSG stars like Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Sergio Ramos, Marquinhos, Achraf Hakimi etc., in action.
The friendly exhibition kickstarted with Messi's magic as Argentina's World Cup-winning captain scored within just three minutes of the game after latching on to Neymar's through ball before launching it over the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner from inside the area. Ronaldo nearly responded immediately, but PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas made a strong save on his effort from the edge of the box.
After Navas fouled Ronaldo in the box, the Riyadh XI were given a penalty, allowing the striker to score from the spot to tie the game.
The French champions were then reduced to ten men when Juan Bernat saw red after bringing down Al-Hilal star Salem Aldawsari as he was the last-man. However, the red card didn't make much of a difference as Marquinhos converted a spectacular Kylian Mbappe cross from inside the six-yard box.
After Mbappe had been fouled in the area, Neymar had the opportunity to join in on the action from the penalty spot, but the Brazilian had his attempt saved.
Ronaldo had the last say in the opening period, levelling the score with one of the final kicks of the period by converting a rebound from close range after his original header had struck the post.
After some wonderful work from Mbappe at the byline, PSG took the lead once more early in the second half when Sergio Ramos slid home. However, the hosts quickly equalised when Jang Hyun-soo headed in at the near post after a corner.
A handball in the area led to another penalty for the Ligue 1 winners, and this time Mbappe stepped up to score from 12 yards.
Just after the hour mark, Messi and Ronaldo both departed the field to be replaced by their respective coaches.
Hugo Ekitike added a fifth goal, rounding out PSG's triumph with a powerful strike into the top corner, before Talisca scored a consolation with the game's final kick.
Fans of Messi, Ronaldo and Mbappe took to Twitter to express their joy at seeing their favourite stars in action, with most celebrating the Portuguese talisman's arrival on Saudi Arabian soil with a brace. Here's a look at how netizens reacted: