Neymar bags hat trick, Marco Verratti impresses as PSG whitewash Red Star
Paris Saint-Germain responded to their 3-2 loss away at Liverpool in their opening Champions League Group C match with a Neymar-inspired 6-1 slaughtering of Red Star Belgrade at Parc des Princes on Wednesday.
Thomas Tuchel's men made light of the unusual atmosphere inside the stadium because of the closure of the Auteuil end -- home of PSG's ultras -- and a designated section for away supporters through a Neymar hat trick and further goals from Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe.
Marko Marin netted for the Serbs, but it was the scantest of consolation goals as the French champions belatedly got their continental quest underway in the French capital.
If further proof was needed that Neymar is loving his football under Tuchel right now, then this was it. Three goals for himself and a key role in Mbappe's second-half effort -- Red Star could not deal with the Brazilian superstar.
Pre-match, PSG needed to respond to their disappointment away at Liverpool and they did that in the best possible fashion -- the sort of convincing win expected of them against what looks to be the weakest team in Champions League Group C.
Neymar and the result were not the only positives, though, as the intensity throughout the 90 minutes will have delighted Tuchel as his players continue to adapt to his methods.
Aside from the obvious in that Red Star managed to score, so there was no clean sheet, there were not major complaints.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Tuchel set his team up in an attack-minded 4-2-3-1 formation and he was handsomely rewarded with an explosive performance that bodes well for the remainder of the group stage.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alphonse Areola, 6 -- Given little chance by Marin when Red Star scored, he was otherwise solid when called upon.
DF Thomas Meunier, 7 -- Another illustration of why he is the ideal right-back for Tuchel's forward-thinking system. Capped it off with a superb assist for Di Maria's goal.
DF Thiago Silva (c), 6 -- The author of two excellent quick-fire tackles in the build-up to Cavani's goal, the skipper was authoritative at the back but will not be happy that Red Star managed to nick a consolation strike.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, 7 -- Calm and collected alongside Silva, his growing maturity means that the likes of Marquinhos can be rested without being missed.
DF Juan Bernat, 6 -- An improvement on his recent outings but mainly because they were so catastrophic. He looked a little less rusty this time and featured in Mbappe's team goal.
MF Marco Verratti, 8 -- He was badly missed in Liverpool when he was suspended, and this match showed why. With a proper midfield, Mbappe, Cavani and Neymar saw much more of the ball and it was carnage.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 7 -- Symbolically made captain for the final 15 minutes, he enjoyed a solid game in midfield but was outshone by Verratti on this occasion.
FW Kylian Mbappe, 7 -- A goal and an assist but he could have joined Neymar on a hat trick had his finishing been better. There is work to be done in some areas but he was still a constant influence.
FW Neymar, 9 -- A hat trick, a key role in a fourth of PSG's six goals and an electric first half, it is simply a pleasure to watch him enjoying his football in the way he currently is under Tuchel. His pair of free kicks were superb and while he was greedy once or twice, his other finish rounded off a slick team move featuring strike partner Mbappe. Deserving of his standing ovation.
FW Angel Di Maria, 6 -- A subtle flicked finish from Meunier's inviting cross and although he was not as influential as Neymar or Mbappe, he remained committed throughout and was still throwing himself into tackles at the death in a testament to Tuchel's ability to change PSG's mindset.
FW Edinson Cavani, 7 -- A goal and an assist despite being overlooked by Neymar and Mbappe at times, it was a good night's work -- superb footwork for his goal.
FW Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, N/R -- Added greater physical presence for the final quarter of an hour when he replaced Mbappe.
DF Thilo Kehrer, N/R -- Sent on for the last 15 minutes to allow Silva a breather and to get a taste for European football in Paris.
FW Julian Draxler, N/R -- Given the best part of the final 10 minutes in Neymar's place, the damage had already been done before he entered the pitch.