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  • Clinical Paris Saint-Germain too strong for Celts

    Clinical Paris Saint-Germain too strong for Celts

    By: Tony Connelly on 12 Sep, 2017 21:56

  • UEFA Champions League
    Group B, Matchday One
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Tuesday, September 12, 2017


    (Neymar 19, Mbappe 34, Cavani 39, 85 Lustig 82)

    CELTIC found it very tough in their opening UEFA Champions League group-stage match against an impressive Paris Saint-Germain side, who scored five goals without reply at Celtic Park to take all three points.

    Neymar opened the scoring in the 19th minute after collecting a through pass and firing the ball beyond Crais Gordon. Striker Kylian Mbappe, on loan from Monaco, doubled the lead from close-range before Edinson Cavani converted a penalty to make it 3-0 at the break. Cavani scored again in the second-half after a Mikael Lustig own goal had put the French side four goals ahead.

    Brendan Rodgers made three changes to the side which had swept aside Hamilton in the Scottish Premiership last Friday night, with Anthony Ralston making his first European start for the Hoops. The 18-year-old slotted into right-back in a defensive four alongside Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic and Kieran Tierney. Striker Leigh Griffiths recovered from injury to lead the attack for Celtic.

    Both teams started the game in search of an early goal and Celtic’s first opportunity fell to Olivier Ntcham in the ninth minute. The Frenchman had a shot on goal from 25 yards out but his low drive went past the Areola’s right-hand post.

    However, it was Paris Saint-Germain who were enjoying the bulk of possession and looked dangerous whenever they surged forward. And it was their £200million striker, Neymar, who opened the scoring after 19 minutes.

    Celtic thought they should have been given a free-kick when Dani Alves fouled Scott Sinclair just inside the PSG half, but the Italian referee waved play on, and the French side hit on the counter-attack. The ball was threaded through to the Brazilian striker, who got ahead of the Celtic defence and raced into the box before lifting the ball over Craig Gordon and into the net.

    Celtic looked to respond, and following good play from Patrick Roberts, which earned his side a free-kick, Leigh Griffiths' 35-yard effort was well-saved by Areola, who pushed the ball over for a corner.

    PSG doubled their lead in the 34th minute with Kylian Mbappe finding a way past Craig Gordon. Verratti’s cross from the right was headed back across goal by Neymar, and after Cavani had missed his shot completely, 18-year-old Mbappe was there to fire home. And things got worse for Celtic five minutes later when Jozo Simunovic was penalised for a challenge on Cavani inside the box. The Uruguayan striker converted the resulting penalty to make it 3-0 at half-time, despite a late Scott Sinclair in the half which brought out another good Areola save.

    With Tom Rogic on at the start of the second-half for Stuart Armstrong, Celtic started the second half on the front foot as they looked to find a way back into the game, with Scott Sinclair looking dangerous whenever he got on the ball.

    Anthony Ralston surged forward into the PSG area, but was eventually crowed out, while a Sinclair shot was blocked by Marquinhos at the edge of the area. PSG, meanwhile, continued to look dangerous when they attacked, and Neymar missed two chances to extend his side's lead, while a Mbappe shot was blocked by Ralston inside the six-yard box.

    However, the French side made it 4-0 with eight minutes remaining when substitute Julian Draxler’s low driving ball across the Celtic six-yard box deflected in off Mikael Lustig. Two minutes later Cavani’s diving header at the far post looped beyond Gordon and into the back of the net for the fifth and final goal of a very tough opening UEFA Champions League group-stage game.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Ralston, Lustig, Simunovic, Tierney; Brown, Ntcham; Armstrong (Rogic 45), Roberts (Forrest 77), Sinclair; Griffiths (Edouard 68).
    Not Used: De Vries, Bitton, Ajer, McGregor,

    PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN (4-3-3) Areola; Alves, Marquinhos, Silva, Kurzawa; Veratti, Motta, Rabiot (Draxler 61); Mbappe (Lo Celso 83), Neymar, Cavani.
    Not Used: Trapp, Kimpembe, Lucas, Meunier, Berchiche


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