‘MCN’ shine for five-star PSG
GLASGOW: Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani all scored as Paris Saint-Germain began their Champions League campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of Celtic in Glasgow on Tuesday.
Brazilian Neymar continued to pay back his €222 million (RM1.1 billion) world record transfer fee with his fifth goal in five games to put PSG in front before he set up Mbappe to make it 2-0.
Edinson Cavani then converted from the penalty spot five minutes before the break and things got worse for Celtic in the second half.
Mikael Lustig’s 83rd-minute own goal and Cavani’s angled header two minutes later heaped more misery on the Scottish champions, who could yet find themselves in trouble with UEFA after a fan managed to make his way onto the pitch to aim a kick at Mbappe during the first half.
“The most difficult thing here is to cope with the rhythm and intensity they play with and, of course, with the support they have,” PSG coach Unai Emery said.
“I think my team showed a lot of character. It was a real team effort and they showed a real controlled approach to the match, which I am really pleased with.”
The emphatic win propels PSG to the top of Group B on goal difference from Bayern Munich, who beat Anderlecht 3-0 and who the French side host in a fortnight.
The nature of the victory was also a real statement of intent from this summer’s big spenders who are determined to make a bigger impression than ever before on Europe’s elite club competition.
Following last season’s collapse to Barcelona in the last 16 — a tie in which Neymar starred for the Catalan giants — this European campaign was always going to be about a test of PSG’s mettle rather than their flair.
However, the French side’s superstars — and in particular their front three, christened the ‘MCN’ in France — showed no signs of fear inside the intimidating atmosphere of Celtic Park as the gulf in class between the sides showed from the start.
“Defensively we were just too far off them and secondly I was disappointed in how we retained the ball. We didn’t keep the ball for long enough,” Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said.
“If you do that against what is arguably the best team in the world just now they will punish you.” AFP
Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar (centre) celebrates with teammates Kylian Mbappe (left) and Edinson Cavani after scoring their opening goal against Celtic in the Champions League Group B match at Celtic Park in Glasgow on Tuesday.