PSG Conquered Clermont Without Messi and Neymar

Paris Saint-Germain maintained their perfect Ligue 1 record as they beat promoted side Clermont 4-0 with a brutal display on Saturday. In the absence of Lionel Messi and Neymar, who was not in the squad after his late return from international duty with Argentina and Brazil, Kylian Mbappe scored his fourth goal in his first appearance at the Parc des Princes since his failed transfer to Real Madrid.

The first goal from the touch of Mbappe, who continued Herrera’s effort that was actually untouched was also a goal. Ander Herrera with Idrissa Gueye rounding off after an hour. PSG, who travel to Club Brugge for their Champions League Group A opener on Wednesday, lead the table on 15 points with Clermont still in third on eight points after their first defeat in their first season in the elite.

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino said after Saturday’s win that Messi and Neymar would be available for the game against Brugee. “They came back to Paris on Friday night and trained today. I’m happy because even though they are tired, they don’t have any physical problems,” Pochettino told a news conference after PSG’s fifth win in as many games in Ligue 1.

“They will be here for Wednesday’s game.” Before the game, the Parc des Princes crowd paid tribute to French film icon Jean-Paul Belmondo and former club defender Jean-Pierre Adams who both died this week.

Clermont played their possession game early on but left space on the flanks and Achraf Hakimi capitalized on the right, managing a powerful cross that was parried by Arthur Desmas, only for Herrera to head home in the 20th minute. The visitors continued to press and create danger in the box, but goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who played his first game with PSG by beating Keylor Navas, proved solid.

“It was my first game, it was a bit special and we got a perfect result after good preparation,” said the Italian goalkeeper. “I’m a little emotional to play my first game for the club.”

Pochettino’s men doubled the goal in the 31st minute when Mbappe’s pass was deflected by Florent Ogier into the path of Herrera, who scored his third goal of the season. Mbappe, the only pure striker in the starting 11, extended PSG’s lead 10 minutes into the second half, completing the counter-attack after being played in by Julian Draxler.

He did it again 10 minutes later when his right-footed shot was parried by Desmas, but Gueye waited and headed into an empty net. PSG, who have now scored 16 goals in five games, then played it safe for their first clean sheet of the season. “We didn’t concede a goal, it was very important against a team that played very well from the start of the season,” said PSG midfielder Danilo Pereira.


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