Paris Saint-Germain continued their winning start to the new Ligue 1 season by thrashing Montpellier at Parc des Princes on Saturday night.
Neymar stole the show with two goals and a top performance, after an own goal from Falaye Sacko had got the ball rolling. Kylian Mbappe also scored his first of the season, while there was even a debut goal for Renato Sanches off the bench late on.
Christophe Galtier’s side dominated throughout and were creating decent openings from the early stages of the match. The first clear chance came when Neymar pulled the ball back through the legs of Montpellier goalkeeper Jonas Omlin, only for it to be hooked away by Theo Sainte-Luce.
PSG should have gone ahead from the penalty spot when VAR intervened to spot the ball falling onto Jordan Ferri’s outstretched arm. But Mbappe’s effort was well saved – it was arguably a favourable height – by Omlin’s strong right hand.
For a time, it felt like Omlin was facing PSG by himself, with the Swiss stopper soon also beating away a Lionel Messi free-kick.
For all their dominance, there was a stroke of luck to PSG’s breakthrough when it came. Mbappe drilled the ball across the penalty area and it was turned into the net by Sacko, who was unaware of his surroundings and could have left the ball to travel to safety with no attackers around him.
Omlin went on to smother from Mbappe after Neymar won it back well, but PSG soon doubled their lead when another handball meant another penalty. After Mbappe’s earlier miss, Neymar stepped up and made no mistake, sending Omlin the wrong way.
Neymar made it three for PSG and doubled his own tally with a brave flying header, throwing himself at the ball to beat Omlin’s fist to it as Achraf Hakimi’s partially blocked cross jumped into the air.
Montpellier’s goal threatened to take the sheen off things for PSG as Gianluigi Donnarumma, a complete spectator up to that point, saved from Elye Wahi but couldn’t stop Wahbi Khazri from successfully converting the rebound.
Yet any shred of doubt over the result was quickly put to bed when Mbappe finally got his first goal of the season, poking home with an outstretched leg at a corner.
Omlin denied Mbappe his second by getting in the way of a powerful effort. Neymar then thought he had scored his hat-trick after finishing from a perfectly weighted Lionel Messi volley, only to see it ruled out for offside. But there was still time for substitute Sanches to score with literally his first touch as a PSG player.
The scoring wasn’t even complete there, with Enzo Tchato scoring his first ever senior goal to pull one more back for Montpellier in stoppage time.
PSG player ratings vs Montpellier - Ligue 1
1. PSG (3-4-1-2)
GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma - 5/10 - Easy to forget he was playing for the first hour. Might look at himself for the Montpellier goal.
CB: Sergio Ramos - 6/10 - Reasonably solid overall.
CB: Marquinhos (c) - 6/10 - Passed the ball forward well out of defence but didn't win his individual duels and has had better days.
CB: Presnel Kimpembe - 6/10 - Posed a decent attacking threat at corners.
RWB: Achraf Hakimi - 7/10 - Got forward so well as usual that he was one of the team's chief attacking outputs.
CM: Marco Verratti - 7/10 - Controlled the game. Saw a lot of the ball and misplaced only four passes out of 92 attempted.
CM: Vitinha - 6/10 - Passed it well but withdrawn not long after a booking.
LWB: Nuno Mendes - 7/10 - Came away with a late assist for the fifth goal.
AM: Lionel Messi - 8/10 - Tasked with creating rather than scoring. Hardly gave the ball away.
ST: Kylian Mbappe - 8/10 - Worked hard for his eventual goal and didn't lose heart after his penalty miss.
ST: Neymar - 9/10 - Stepped up confidently when Mbappe had missed, while his headed goal showed surprising bravery to risk injury. His would-be hat-trick goal was chalked for two offsides in the build-up.
SUB: Leandro Paredes (70' for Vitinha) - 7/10
SUB: Renato Sanches (86' for Verratti) - 7/10
SUB: Nordi Mukiele (86' for Hakimi) - N/A
SUB: Pablo Sarabia (86' for Mbappe) - N/A
SUB: Hugo Ekitike (90' for Neymar) - N/A
Manager: Christophe Galtier - 8/10 - This group of players will beat anyone in France, but only if on their game and the coach has to make sure they are.