Paris Saint-Germain’s expensively-assembled attack triumvirate fired as Les Parisiens beat the mighty Bayern Munich by a resounding 3-0 margin in their UEFA Champions League Group B game at the Parc de Princes.
“Penaltygate” had refused to die down and one had the feeling if the stars Unai Emery had at his disposal failed to deliver on their first real test, the pressure would intensify on the likes of Neymar.
Thankfully for the French giants, Neymar and Edinson Cavani showed that unsavoury incident was behind them, sensationally combining to humble the five-time winners.
Neymar, rested for PSG’s Ligue 1 draw at Montpellier on the weekend, was restored to the starting XI. The Brazilian and teenaged sensation Kylian Mbappe flanked Cavani and the hosts were off to a flyer, with Neymar providing an excellent assist.
Cutting in from the left, Neymar drew a host of Bayern players to himself and instead of shooting, laid it off for the overlapping Dani Alves. The right-back powered his shot between Sven Ulreich’s legs and PSG had the lead with just two minutes on the clock.
Bayern were roused from their slumber and took control of the tie with right-back Joshua Kimmich an outlet on the flank but despite edging the possession stats, they were unable to find a way past Alphonse Areola.
Thomas Muller, starting alongside James Rodriguez and Robert Lewandowski at the apex of Bayern’s 4-3-3, was unmarked when a quickly-taken corner caught PSG’s defence napping but couldn’t put his effort on target.
Javi Martinez’s volleyed effort, however, was on target but Areola produced a stunning one-handed stop to tip it over the bar.
Bayern were enjoying their best spell of the game and Lewandowski would go close when his cross-shot fizzed across the goal, inches wide from David Alaba’s boot, as PSG rode their luck.
The sheer pace in Les Parisiens’ attack trio made them a danger on the counter and while Cavani scuffed his first attempt after a fast break, he more than made amends when Mbappe squared it to him in the 31st minute. Arriving in the box just as Mbappe turned to look for a teammate, Cavani curled a shot into the top-corner to double his side’s lead.
Ancelotti knew the game was slipping out of his side’s hands and made a double substitution at half-time, bringing on former PSG starlet Kingsley Coman and Sebastian Rudy, but the introductions were unable to affect the tie, much to the chagrin of their manager.
For PSG were clearly the better side on the night and while Neymar would toe-poke the third in the 63rd minute, in reality the difference could have been much greater.
Les Parisiens came through their first major test with flying colours and after thrashing Celtic 5-0 on Matchday 1, top their group with six points from two games. They are heavy favourites to win the group but perhaps more importantly, their win in Paris will have sent a warning to the rest of Europe’s elite that they are contenders to win the title this season.
Bayern’s predicament continues as after losing ground to arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, they were thumped by a side that not so long ago would have been swatted aside with ease.