Paris Saint-Germain got their title defence off to the ideal start as they thrashed Clermont Foot 5-0 at Stade Gabriel-Monpied in the opening Ligue 1 matchday.
Les Parisiens – fresh off the back of their convincing 4-0 Trophée des Champions victory over last season’s Coupe de France winners Nantes last weekend – took no prisoners against a side they scored ten goals against in two outings last season, as they found an early lead in the 9th minute.
Pablo Sarabia’s low cross from deep towards the edge of the area was deftly flicked on by Leo Messi back to the path of Neymar behind him, and the Brazilian found the bottom corner with a fantastic first-time strike to put his side ahead.
PSG doubled their advantage just before the half hour mark, as Achraf Hakimi rounded off a clinical counter attack with a powerful finish into the roof of the net from inside the area.
After having a direct involvement in the first two goals, Neymar registered his second assist of the night as PSG scored their third in the 38th minute.
The forward whipped in a free-kick into the area with pace from the left-hand side, which Marquinhos met with a thumping header past Clermont goalkeeper Mory Diaw to put the result well and truly beyond Les Lanciers.
Leo Messi added two more goals late on for the visitors – with the latter a superb overhead kick – to well and truly complete the rout.
The victory takes Christophe Galtier’s side to the top of the Ligue 1 table. PSG are in action again next Saturday, as they take on Montpellier at the Parc des Princes.
TALKING POINT – PSG GET THE JOB DONE BUT TOUGHER TESTS AWAIT
As they always say in football, you have got to beat what is in front of you. And this was the case for PSG tonight, as they came up against a Clermont Foot side that will most likely be fighting it out in the lower reaches of Ligue 1 this season after narrowly avoiding relegation in the last campaign.
At times tonight, Christophe Galtier’s side were toying with Les Lanciers. In spite of Kylian Mbappe being missing due to injury, Neymar and Leo Messi stepped up to the plate in the attacking third of the pitch, with both players together involved in all five Paris goals, with Messi’s outrageous overhead kick in the 86th minute being the pick of the bunch.
Getting their domestic campaign off to a good start will give the side a big boost of confidence ahead of tougher tests. Paris come up against both Lille and Monaco before the end of the month, so maintaining a good run of results is important at this stage of the season.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – NEYMAR
What more can you say about this man? At times tonight, he was outright audacious in the trickery he attempted. More importantly though, the Brazilian was involved in four of the five PSG goals (one goal, three assists).
In addition to his direct goal involvements, Neymar registered six key passes, and made two successful dribbles. A complete performance by the 30-year-old.
Clermont Foot: Diaw 7, Seidu 7, Wieteska 5, Ogier 5, Borges 6, Gonalons 5, Gastien 6, Allevinah 6, Saracebic 6, Rashani 6, Andric 6. Subs: Baiye 6, Khaoui 6, Magnin 6, Dossou 6.
Paris Saint-Germain: Donnarumma 7, Hakimi 7, Marquinhos 7, Ramos 7, Kimpembe 6, Mendes 6, Verratti 7, Vitinha 6, Sarabia 6, Neymar 10, Messi 10. Subs: Mukiele 6, Zaire-Emery 6, Bernat 6, Ekitike 6, Mukiele 6, Paredes 7.
8’ – GOAL! (Neymar) – Neymar gives PSG the lead of this game! Sarabia arrows in a low cross from the left, which Messi beautifully flicks behind him for Neymar to hit first time from inside the box, and it goes into the bottom-left corner! Clermont’s task just got a lot harder.
26’ – GOAL! (Achraf Hakimi) – A clinical counter results in Hakimi firing a shot into the roof of the net from inside the box! PSG break with Neymar, Messi and Hakimi involved, and Neymar releases the Morocco international superbly with a fantastic through ball. The right-back does the rest and Clermont now have a mountain to climb.
29’ – BRILLIANT SAVE! – Diaw makes a fantastic stop to deny Sergio Ramos! Messi delivers in the corner from the left towards the near post, which sees Ramos time his run to perfection to meet the ball with a powerful header, but Diaw gets down low to tip the ball out for a corner. Great save!
38’ – GOAL! (Marquinhos) – There it is – PSG make the most of this free-kick routine! Neymar whips a delivery into the box with real pace, and Marquinhos times his run really well to lose his marker and plant a header right into the middle of the net past Diaw. Great goal.
80′ – GOAL! (Leo Messi) – It’s Messi! The Argentine is now on the scoresheet! PSG break forward with pace, as Messi leads the charge, before playing the ball to his left for Neymar. The Brazilian then plays the ball back to his team-mate inside the box, and Messi finishes well beyond Diaw. Third assist of the night for Neymar!
86’ – GOAL! (Leo Messi) – What a goal! Messi controls the ball with his chest in the area from a chipped pass by Neymar, before hitting an overhead kick into the back of the net! Unreal technique!