Paris Saint-Germain’s attacking might overwhelmed Red Star Belgrade 6-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday, with Neymar netting a hat trick that included two brilliant free kicks.
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel went with his strongest line-up up front with Neymar, World Cup star Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation. They all scored in the first half except for Mbappe, who had to wait until the 70th minute for his goal following superb approach play from Neymar.
After losing their opening group game to Liverpool, PSG played with the kind of intensity that has sometimes been lacking against weaker teams in past seasons, where it has failed to get beyond the quarterfinals of the competition despite huge expenditure on players and wages.
Neymar, who scored twice in the French league last weekend, opened the scoring with his first free kick after 20 minutes. The Brazil star hardly took a run up and used his exquisite touch to perfectly flight the ball into the left corner.
Two minutes later, he added his second.
Swapping passes with Mbappe, he sprinted into the penalty area to meet the teenager’s quick cross from the right with a finish into the roof of the net.
Cavani beat two players before scoring with a deflected shot in the 37th, and Di Maria astutely guided in the fourth shortly before the break.
Neymar created the fifth in style.
He showed great close control to dribble to the edge of the area, and then cleverly flicked a ball over the defense. Left back Bernat read the pass and cut the ball back to give Mbappe an easy tap in.
After Mbappe missed a sitter — his second of the night — Red Star’s midfielder Marko Marin rifled a shot home in the 74th.
Neymar went off to a standing ovation with about 10 minutes left, just after curling in even better free kick into the top right corner.
Later Wednesday, Napoli hosted Liverpool in the other Group C game.
Source: The Associated Press