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Wednesday 22 November 2017

Celts given European lesson by stellar PSG

Celtic 0 PSG 5: Bhoys suffer heaviest home defeat in Europe as classy Parisians silence Parkhead

PSG’s scorer Neymar, front left, and his team-mates celebrate the opening goal during the Champions League Group B win over Celtic at Parkhead last night. Photo: AP
PSG’s scorer Neymar, front left, and his team-mates celebrate the opening goal during the Champions League Group B win over Celtic at Parkhead last night. Photo: AP

Free-spending Paris Saint-Germain demonstrated their prowess with a 5-0 thumping of Celtic in their Champions League opener at Parkhead.

The world's most expensive frontline costing over £400million did the damage in the first-half as Brazilian star Neymar opened the scoring in the 19th minute before 18-year-old French sensation Kylian Mbappe added a second in the 34th minute with Edinson Cavani scoring with a penalty before the break.

A fan from among the home supporters revealed his frustration when he came on to the pitch to aim a fresh-air kick at Mbappe before being escorted away by stewards and there was more distress after the break.

Brendan Rodgers' side performed better in the second-half but in the latter stages Parkhead defender Mikael Lustig put through his own goal before Cavani grabbed his second with a clever header to hand the home side their record home defeat in Europe.

Problem

It was always going to be a tough task for Celtic who had striker Leigh Griffith back after recovering from a calf problem and 18-year-old Anthony Ralston tasked with taking on Neymar as regular full-back Lustig was moved into central defence alongside Jozo Simunovic, who signed a new four-year deal on Monday.

The French side broke the world transfer record when they signed Brazilian superstar Neymar from Barcelona in the summer for £200.6million and Mbappe joined on a season-long loan from Monaco, with an option to make the deal permanent for £166million and they were both instrumental in a fine PSG performance.

Ralston was warned by Italian referee Daniel Orsato for his second foul on Neymar just before Cavani had the ball in the net from a Layvin Kurzawa cross only to be ruled offside.

Celtic keeper Craig Gordon made a decent save from Cavani's long-range strike before the visitors went ahead.

The home fans claimed for a foul on Hoops attacker Scott Sinclair by Dani Alves before PSG regained possession and Adrien Rabiot slipped Neymar in behind Ralston and he raced into the box and lifted it over the on-rushing Gordon with assurance.

Minutes later Griffiths came close to levelling with a 25-yard free-kick that was tipped over the bar by Alphonse Areola, the keeper taking the resultant corner with ease.

Celtic players (l-r) Olivier Ntcham, Stuart Armstrong and Leigh Griffiths surround PSG’s Neymar at Parkhead last night. Photo: Reuters
Celtic players (l-r) Olivier Ntcham, Stuart Armstrong and Leigh Griffiths surround PSG’s Neymar at Parkhead last night. Photo: Reuters

The slick-moving French side were in control, however, and their second goal came from a deep cross from the right by Thiago Motta which was headed down by Neymar and although Cavani missed his kick from eight yards, Mbappe was on hand to slam the ball high into the net.

Five minutes from the interval Simunovic conceded a needless penalty and picked up a booking for a tug at Cavani as he attempted to reach a cross from Kurzawa and the Uruguayan picked himself up and slammed in the spot kick for number three.

Sinclair had a shot saved by Areloa before the first-half but Celtic looked down and out.

Tom Rogic replaced Stuart Armstrong for the start of the second-half and the Scottish champions tried to rally, backed by their supporters.

Ralston was booked for a foul on Motta and as the home side enjoyed a measure of possession Areola again denied Sinclair from close range after the Hoops forward had skipped past Marquinhos.

Julian Draxler came on for Rabiot and Celtic's French striker Odsonne Edouard replaced Griffiths but Neymar had three more attempts on goal, one over the bar, one saved by Gordon and the next sent past the post before the Brazilian was booked for simulation in the 76th minute.

There was more woe to come for the outclassed home side.

In the 83rd minute Draxler's cut-back was inadvertently knocked into his own net by Lustig before Cavani headed in number five from a Kurzawa cross to compound a miserable night for Celtic, whose fans applauded in recognition of a fine away team at the final whistle.

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