Christophe Galtier enjoys 5-0 win in first league game in charge
Lionel Messi scored twice in the second half, including with a stunning overhead kick, as Paris Saint-Germain began their defence of the Ligue 1 title with a crushing 5-0 win over Clermont on Saturday.
Neymar put in a brilliant shift as well with a goal and three assists as the Paris club tasted victory in new coach Christophe Galtier’s first league game in charge despite Kylian Mbappe missing the trip due to an adductor injury.
Achraf Hakimi and Marquinhos also got on the scoresheet as PSG followed up last weekend’s 4-0 Trophee des Champions victory over Nantes with another easy win.
It took only nine minutes for them to get in front as Messi brilliantly flicked the ball into the path of Neymar, who finished an excellent move.
Hakimi scored midway through the first half from a lightening counter-attack, before Marquinhos headed Neymar’s free-kick into the net.
Neymar then provided a fourth for Messi, before the Argentine forward capped off an excellent performance with a stunning goal, intercepting a pass from Leandro Paredes and providing a bicycle-kick finish.
“There is no denying we have lots of talent but what I retain is the collective desire to win the ball back very early, to play with intensity, to never let up,” Galtier, who replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino, said.
“The squad have been very receptive since I arrived. They like to work hard together, have fun together. But the season is long. This was just the first game.”
Galtier said he should have no trouble finding a place in the line-up for Mbappe, who is expected to return next weekend and play his first competitive game since turning down a move to Real Madrid to sign a new three-year deal in Paris.
“Kylian is an essential part of this project. For a coach, it is not very difficult to integrate a player like him into the team,” Galtier said.
“He had a little alert and so we didn’t want to take any risk. Obviously if we had a difficult game, or a Champions League match, maybe Kylian would have played. We preferred to delay his comeback but he should be back against Montpellier.”