GLASGOW, (Reuters) – Paris St Germain’s attacking trio of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani were all on the scoresheet as they tore Celtic apart to lead the French club to a 5-0 rout in their Champions League Group B opener yesterday.
The world’s most expensive frontline produced a potent display of force to sweep Celtic aside, inflicting the heaviest home European defeat on the Scottish side.
PSG, who have so often flattered to deceive among Europe’s elite, looked genuine contenders to make a run for the title as they mercilessly picked apart their opponents.
Neymar, making his first European appearance for PSG after his world-record move from Barcelona, orchestrated proceedings, ably assisted by teenager Mbappe and experienced Cavani, the other two members of PSG’s exciting forward trio.
All three were on target in an explosive first half, before an own goal from Mikael Lustig and a second from Uruguayan Cavani wrapped up proceedings late in the contest.
“I’m very happy. It was a fantastic match and I’m happy for the team. It was an important win,” Neymar told reporters.
Asked about Mbappe, he said: “It’s always a pleasure to play with great players, even though he’s young. For me, he’s a great player and he has the potential to improve even more.”
Cavani added: “We stayed focused throughout, not just when we were attacking but when we defended too. It was the perfect match, the match we had to play here to get the three points.”
PSG, who crave the Champions League title, have assembled the most expensive strikeforce in history with 222 million-euro ($265.60 million) Neymar and on-loan Mbappe, who will move permanently for about 180 million euros next year, joining in the close season to a heady fanfare.
Along with Cavani, a relative snip having joined in 2013 for 64 million euros, they terrorised a fragile Celtic rearguard, who were powerless as the French side poured forward.
Neymar opened the scoring in the 19th minute 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 byNeymar and fired into the roof of the net by 18-year-old French striker 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 five minutes before the break.
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 with seven minutes remaining and Cavani then stooped to angle a superb header past Gordon.
“It’s a phenomenal squad that Paris have but I was proud of the players in the second half and the supporters were terrific tonight, they kept encouraging us,” said Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers.
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.
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