13 Sep 2017 - 1:54
Five-star PSG rout Celtic; Messi double inspires Barca
Paris St Germain flexed their attacking muscles with a 5-0 victory at Celtic in their opening Champions League Group B game yesterday as the world’s most expensive frontline produced a potent display of force.
Neymar, making his first European appearance for PSG after his world-record move from Barcelona, orchestrated proceedings and was joined on the scoresheet by Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, the other two members of PSG’s extravagant forward trio.
The €222m ($265.60m) Brazilian opened the scoring in the 19th minute with an expert finish, before French striker Mbappe slammed home a second from close range and Cavani converted from the penalty spot five minutes before the break.
The visitors had to wait until the 83rd minute to add to their lead when Mikael Lustig put through his own net before Uruguayan Cavani added a fifth two minutes later with an expertly-placed header.
PSG, who crave the Champions League title, have assembled the most expensive strikeforce in history with Neymar and on-loan Mbappe, who will move permanently for about €180m next year, joining a heady fanfare in the close season.
Along with Cavani, a relative snip having joined in 2013 for €64m, they terrorised a fragile Celtic rearguard, who were powerless as the French side poured forward.
Neymar opened the scoring when he cut in from the left of the penalty area and lifted the ball expertly over keeper Craig Gordon, having been slid in by the excellent Adrien Rabiot.
The Qatari-owned visitors doubled the lead after 34 minutes when a cross from the right was headed back across goal by Neymar and fired into the roof of the net by teenager Mbappe after Cavani had missed his kick.
The game was over as a contest before halftime when Jozo Simunovic pulled back Cavani, who picked himself up to score from the penalty spot.
Neymar was guilty of a glaring miss in a second half that looked like fizzling out with no further goals until Lustig shinned a cross into his own net and Cavani then stooped to angle a superb header past Gordon.
PSG, who were quarter-finalists in four successive seasons before falling to a remarkable Barcelona comeback in the last 16 last year, next host Bayern Munich in a mouthwatering clash on Sept. 27, when Celtic visit Anderlecht.
Elsewhere, in Manchester, Substitute Marouane Fellaini proved an unlikely source of inspiration as Manchester United comfortably defeated Basel 3-0 on their return to the Champions League.
In Barcelona, a mesmeric Lionel Messi scored twice and inspired Barcelona to a 3-0 win over Juventus as the Catalans got off to a flying start in Champions League Group D, avenging last season’s quarter-final elimination by the Italian champions.
Chelsea enjoyed a triumphant return to the Champions League after a year out yesterday, thumping the competition’s debutants Qarabag 6-0, including a stunning, if miscued, strike from new signing Davide Zappacosta.
Bayern Munich got off to a winning start in the Champions League for the 14th successive season on Tuesday with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Group B opponents Anderlecht who played most of the game with 10 men at the Allianz Arena.