Player Ratings: Cavani, Neymar, Mbappe all Score as PSG Hammer Celtic in UCL Opener
Paris Saint-Germain got their Champions League campaign off to a perfect start by beating Celtic 5-0 on Tuesday at Celtic Park. Neymar and Kylian Mbappe both scored, while Edinson Cavani bagged a double and Mikael Lustig added an unfortunate own goal.
The front three: The French capital outfit were once again devastating in attack, with Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani all scoring for the second consecutive match. The Brazil superstar assisted the young France striker, albeit after the Uruguay forward had miscued his finish.
Areola: Although PSG won 5-0, Celtic could have scored a few times if Alphonse Areola had not been so alert between the sticks for the visitors. The France goalkeeper made a number of good stops, and the clean sheet will have boosted his confidence while frustrating positional rival Kevin Trapp.
Strong start: Les Parisiens not only needed to make a winning start to their European campaign but also needed to put in a strong performance. Although Celtic were poor, PSG were very good (especially in attack), and their clinical display will have put fear into the hearts of their future opponents.
Too easy? It is hard to find many things to seriously criticise after such a comprehensive victory, but the fact that the Ligue 1 giants found it so easy is perhaps the most obvious. There will be tougher tests for PSG; facing Bayern Munich at home in Matchday 2 will be much, much harder.
8 (out of 10) — Unai Emery reverted to the tried and tested possession-based 4-3-3 formation after testing an attack-minded 4-2-3-1 system away at FC Metz last week. He was rewarded with a commanding display and mostly clinical finishing.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alphonse Areola, 8 — After a shaky showing in Metz, Areola needed to put in a convincing performance. He did just that and made a number of good stops, notably a flying effort to keep out a Leigh Griffiths free-kick in the first half.
DF Dani Alves, 6 — The Brazil international was his usual energetic self and got forward when possible. Defensively, he and the other members of the PSG back line were redundant at times.
DF Marquinhos, 6 — The Brazilian was solid but unspectacular alongside captain Thiago Silva. However, he answered the call when needed.
DF Thiago Silva (c), 6 — Like Alves and Marquinhos, the skipper did not have to be at best but was composed and commanding when required.
DF Layvin Kurzawa, 7 — Up against such weak opposition, the France international was able to get forward a lot. Cavani was offside when he netted from Kurzawa’s low cross in the first half, but the pair connected late on for the Uruguay international’s diving header for PSG’s second goal.
MF Thiago Motta, 6 — Back in his more familiar deep-lying midfield role after struggling as one of the two in the 4-2-3-1 away at Metz because of Marco Verratti’s domestic suspension, Motta was much more at ease against Celtic and dictated the tempo from midfield without having to push too hard.
MF Marco Verratti, 7 — The Italy international put in his best performance of the season so far. The Azzurri star looked hungry to atone for his disappointing start to the campaign while he remains suspended domestically, and he did just that with a tidy outing.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 8 — The France international is rapidly becoming PSG’s most influential midfielder, and he produced another mature and dominant midfield showing before making way for Julian Draxler just after the hour mark. Rabiot played in Neymar for the opening goal after 20 minutes with a brilliant through-ball.
FW Kylian Mbappe, 7 — The France international made it two goals from as many appearances with his new club, and in doing so in Glasgow, he has become the first teenager to score for two different clubs in the Champions League. Mbappe’s well-taken first-half finish after Cavani miscued his chance means he has drawn level with former PSG director of football Patrick Kluivert as the most prolific teenager in competition history. It was also his sixth continental strike in his past seven outings.
FW Edinson Cavani, 8 — “El Matador” is now the France giants’ leading scorer in Europe, with 22 goals, after his brace lifted him above former teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Consequently, Cavani has now scored in more than half of his Champions League appearances and is on a five-match scoring run in the competition. The South American had a goal chalked off for being offside and missed his shot in the buildup to Mbappe’s goal, but he made no mistake with his penalty and added a majestic late header.
FW Neymar, 7 — Neymar has had better games for PSG since his summer move, but he still scored the opening goal and assisted Mbappe. The Brazil forward now has five goals from as many outings with his new club, but he missed a couple of chances, got booked for arguing with the referee after diving and engaged in some aggro with Celtic’s Anthony Ralston. Les Parisiens’ No. 10 will know he can do better but also that he and his teammates are just warming up.
FW Julian Draxler, 7 — The Germany international was given 29 minutes in place of Rabiot and did not waste them. It was Draxler who forced Lustig’s own goal after a weaving run and dangerous low cross.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, NR — The Argentine replaced Mbappe after 84 minutes, and although Cavani scored his second and PSG’s fifth one minute later, the match was already as good as dead, and Lo Celso had little time to get on the ball, let alone catch the eye.
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