Champions League

Neymar turns it on as PSG destroy Celtic

2017-11-23 07:45
Neymar (Getty Images)

Paris - Neymar was back in the mood with the Brazilian scoring twice to set up Paris Saint-Germain's comeback from behind as they hammered a shell-shocked Celtic 7-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Moussa Dembele had put the visitors ahead inside a minute at the Parc des Princes, but Neymar's brace soon turned the game around and both Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe added goals of their own before the interval.

Marco Verratti made it five with quarter of an hour left, before Cavani got his second and a sensational Dani Alves hit wrapped up the French giants' biggest win in the competition.

Already through to the last 16 before this game, they will look to clinch top spot in Group B ahead of Bayern Munich when they travel to Germany for their final outing next month.

Bayern won 2-1 at Anderlecht on Wednesday, while PSG remain on course to finish with maximum points in the section having already set a new group-stage goals record with 24.

Celtic, who were already eliminated, will at least secure the consolation of a Europa League spot in the New Year as long as they avoid a heavy defeat at home to Anderlecht in their next outing.

"There are lessons for us. We can keep the ball a bit better, and secondly you've got to defend better, but you also have to admire the sheer quality of Paris Saint-Germain," admitted their manager Brendan Rodgers.

They had suffered their heaviest ever home defeat in Europe when they last faced PSG in September, losing 5-0. They had also only ever managed just two wins in 29 previous away games in the group stage, and yet they stunned their hosts by going ahead with just 58 seconds played.

Celtic score too soon?

Alves gave away a corner before Paris had even made it out of their own half and Olivier Ntcham's low delivery was swept home by Dembele, the highly-rated France under-21 striker who was on PSG's books as a youngster.

That scuppered PSG's hopes of becoming the first side to complete the group phase without conceding a goal, but quickly the Scottish side were wondering if they had scored too soon.

Neymar's form has dipped over the last six weeks, and yet the Brazilian led the turnaround in stunning style.

He levelled in the ninth minute with a low finish into the far corner following an Adrien Rabiot pass, and he scored again midway through the first half with a low strike beyond Craig Gordon after a one-two with Verratti.

That was a sixth goal in five Champions League outings this season for the world's most expensive player, and it was also the seventh time he had found the net against Celtic.

He loves playing against the Scottish side and he claimed an assist as it became 3-1 just before the half-hour, using his shoulder to help an Alves ball across goal for Cavani to turn in.

Poor Celtic defending contributed to PSG getting their fourth before the interval, as they failed to deal with a Neymar free-kick into the box and Mbappe fired in.

The Ligue 1 leaders took their foot off the gas after the break but they rounded out their win with three more goals late on.

Celtic lost 7-0 to Neymar's Barcelona in this competition last season and this turned into a similar hiding as Verratti made it five before Cavani volleyed in the sixth, his 21st of the season.

The best was saved for last as Alves made it seven with a quite stunning effort from 22 yards that arced into the top-left corner. That allowed PSG to beat their previous best result in the competition, a 7-2 victory against Rosenborg in 2000.

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Wednesday, 19 September 2018
Ajax v AEK Athens, Johan Cruijff ArenA 18:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Hoffenheim, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 18:55
Viktoria Plzen v CSKA Moskva, Doosan Arena 21:00
Valencia v Juventus, Estadio de Mestalla 21:00
Benfica v Bayern Munchen, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 21:00
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Bayern Munchen v Ajax, Allianz-Arena 21:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Shakhtar Donetsk, Groupama OL Academy Decines-Charpieu 21:00
Manchester United v Valencia, Old Trafford 21:00
AEK Athens v Benfica, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 21:00
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CSKA Moskva v Real Madrid, VEB Arena 21:00
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Atletico Madrid v Club Brugge, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 21:00
PSV v Internazionale, Philips Stadion 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Monaco, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Napoli v Liverpool, Stadio San Paolo 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona, Wembley Stadium 21:00
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
AEK Athens v Bayern Munchen, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 18:55
Young Boys v Valencia, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 18:55
Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:00
Ajax v Benfica, Johan Cruijff ArenA 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:00
Manchester United v Juventus, Old Trafford 21:00
Roma v CSKA Moskva, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
Hoffenheim v Olympique Lyonnais, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 21:00
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PSV v Tottenham Hotspur, Philips Stadion 18:55
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PSG v Napoli, Parc des Princes 21:00
Lokomotiv Moskva v Porto, RZD Arena 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Galatasaray v Schalke 04, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 21:00
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Monaco v Club Brugge, Stade Louis II 19:55
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Porto v Lokomotiv Moskva, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Internazionale v Barcelona, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Napoli v PSG, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Schalke 04 v Galatasaray, Veltins-Arena 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v PSV, Wembley Stadium 22:00
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