Speaking the Nations Mind

UCL: Celtic 0-5 PSG: Neymar, Mbappe Goals See Off Celtic In A Classy Display


Paris Saint-Germain produced a classy display to comfortably beat Celtic 5-0 in their opening Champions League Group B game on Tuesday night.

Goals from PSG’s star-studded trio of Neymar (20), Kylian Mbappe (34) and Edinson Cavani (40 pen) helped PSG on their way to a convincing win at Celtic Park before a Mikael Lustig own goal (82) and Cavani’s second (85) condemned Celtic to their heaviest home defeat in European competition.

Mbappe’s near-post finish in the first half makes him the joint-top teenage goalscorer in the Champions League with seven goals, matching Patrick Kluivert.

Victory puts PSG equal on points with Bayern Munich at the top of the group, with Celtic’s goal difference taking a significant blow to make for an uneasy start to their Champions League campaign.

PSG began the first half on the front foot, as Cavani failed to stretch for Dani Alves’ cross for a simple tap-in just six minutes in.

But last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up did make their dominance count through Neymar, who got in behind the Celtic defence and picked up Adrien Rabiot’s perfectly-weighted pass before smashing the ball into the roof of the net to put the Ligue 1 side ahead.

Celtic responded brightly through Leigh Griffiths, whose free-kick was tipped over the bar by Alphonse Areola, but PSG doubled their lead a matter of minutes later. Marco Verratti’s cross to the back post was nodded back by Layvin Karzawa into the path of Cavani, who completely fluffed his lines, before Mbappe laced the ball home from close range.

And it did not take long for PSG to assert their dominance further as Jozo Simunovic tugged on the shirt of Cavani just five minutes from half-time, resulting in a penalty. Cavani stepped up and sent Craig Gordon the wrong way to wrap up a miserable opening 45 minutes for Celtic.

Not lacking in desire, Celtic continued to push forward in the second half with Scott Sinclair forcing Areola into a smart reflex save after driving down the byline and smashing a shot into the body of Areola. But PSG would regain control and provide the finishing touches to a dominant performance.

In the 82nd minute, lively substitute Julian Draxler danced past Sinclair on the right flank and drilled a ball across the goal-mouth before Lustig accidentally tapped the ball into his own net. Then, PSG made it five with a world-class goal as Cavani met Kurzawa’s curling cross on the bounce, before lobbing the ball over Gordon into the top corner to cap off an attacking masterclass from the visitors.

Despite missing some glorious goal-scoring opportunities, Cavani was a constant thorn in Celtic’s defence and produced a fine display that merited his brace.

Cavani’s tenacity saw him win a penalty before converting to put PSG 3-0 up, while his spectacular header five minutes from time was a moment of individual brilliance.

Why the 30-year-old started ahead of Julian Draxler may lie in the fact that he has now scored in over half (23/45) of his appearances in the Champions League.