UEFA Champions League: Wijnaldum scores brace as PSG draws at Leipzig

Two goals from Georginio Wijnaldum weren't enough for Paris Saint-Germain to beat Leipzig as the German club salvaged a 2-2 draw with a stoppage-time penalty on Wednesday.

Paris St Germain's Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates after scoring the second goal during the 2-2 Champions League draw against RB Leipzig on Wednesday.   -  REUTERS

Two goals from Georginio Wijnaldum weren't enough for Paris Saint-Germain to beat Leipzig as the German club salvaged a 2-2 draw with a stoppage-time penalty in the Champions League on Wednesday.

PSG was on course for a win to go top of Group A ahead of Manchester City until Presnel Kimpembe fouled Christopher Nkunku and gave away a penalty. Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma had saved another Leipzig penalty earlier, but this time substitute Dominik Szoboszlai's shot was just out of his reach as Leipzig earned its first point of the season.

PSG arrived without the injured Lionel Messi but with Kylian Mbappé back from illness, though it was Wijnaldum who provided the scoring.

“We didn’t start well,” Wijnaldum told broadcaster DAZN. “I think we finished the first half good, in the second half we created chances but we also gave a lot of chances away."

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However, it was the German team that came out attacking and took the lead through former PSG forward Nkunku in the eighth minute with a diving header off a cross from André Silva. Leipzig's record of spirited defeats means Nkunku has now scored five times in this season's group stage, none of them in a winning cause.

Donnarumma stopped PSG falling further behind soon after when he saved Silva's penalty after the Portuguese forward was held by Danilo while bearing down on goal. From there, PSG started to impose itself on the game and scored with its first real chance in the 21st, Mbappé setting up Wijnaldum with a smartly weighted pass for the Dutch midfielder to add the finish.

Video review was needed for Wijnaldum's second goal when he headed in after a corner was flicked on by Marquinhos. The flag went up for offside, but VAR showed he was just onside. The last time Wijnaldum scored in a Champions League game was in March 2020 for Liverpool.

“With the goals it’s a big relief, of course, because you want to be important for the team, you want to show the best of yourself,” Wijnaldum said. “But I think I can do much better. I scored two goals but also in a lot of moments I lost the ball and I didn't win my one-on-one battles.”

Leipzig kept pushing through the second half and eventually earned the penalty.

Manchester City leads the group after beating Brugge 4-1 in the other game Wednesday. City hosts PSG in the next round of games on November 24. Leipzig can no longer qualify despite the late equalizer.

After the match, PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino said that while he was still targeting top spot in the group, the most important thing was to advance.

"Well, it changes nothing, doesn’t it?" Pochettino told reporters. "The goal is to go through. If you are able to be first, then it is much better.

"We will have to play for first position (in Manchester on Nov. 24). The only thing that changed was that we were first and they (City) were second and now they are first and we are second.

"But at the end of the day, the goal in the group stage is always to go through."

(With inputs from Reuters)

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