Paris Saint-Germain advance in Champions League after beating Red Star Belgrade
Paris Saint-Germain reached the round of 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday thanks to an inspired performance by their three-pronged attack of Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe. Resulting in a 4-1 win at Red Star Belgrade.
All three forwards scored in an intimidating atmosphere at Red Star’s Rajko Mitic stadium. Meanwhile, Brazilian defender Marquinhos was also on target to cancel out a sumptuous volley by Red Star defender Marko Gobeljic.
The result lifted the French champions to the top of Group C on 11 points from six games. Two ahead of Liverpool, who also qualified thanks to a 1-0 home win over Napoli. Because of that result, it left them ahead of the Italian side on goals scored.
The visitors dominated the first half in Belgrade. And Cavani fired them ahead with a 10th-minute tap-in after Mbappe raced clear of his marker and squared the ball back to the Uruguay striker.
The home side were barely able to get out of their own half in the opening period. Therefore, Neymar doubled Paris Saint-Germain’s lead in the 40th minute with an individual goal of the highest quality.
Having picked up the ball near the halfway line. The Brazilian deceived one defender after another with shimmies and lightning footwork. Before stroking the ball past goalkeeper Milan Borjan.
Roared on by a 55,000 home crowd, Red Star came out with renewed purpose in the second half. They came close through El Fardou Ben Nabouhane before Gobeljic’s delightful volley.
But PSG put the game beyond Red Star’s reach with two more goals in the closing stages as the home side ran out of steam.
First, Marquinhos buried a header past Borjan in the 74th minute. This after Angel Di Maria swung in an inch-perfect free kick,. Later, Mbappe completed the rout with a clinical stoppage-time strike to finish off another fast break by the visitors.
Despite crashing out of European competition, 1991 European Cup winners Red Star received a standing ovation from their die-hard supporters on the final whistle. They produced several spirited performances in their maiden Champions League campaign.
“We made mistakes, but I really liked the reaction after Belgrade’s goal. As a team, we controlled the match,” said Tuchel to RMC Sport after the win.
“Firstly, we need to stay humble and have a professional attitude. Week on week we are improving and we are hard to beat.”
Topping such a keenly-contested group is a huge boost for Paris Saint-Germain. Who have dominated French football since being taken over by Qatari investors however flattered to deceive on the continent.
“We showed for a second time after the match against Liverpool that we are ready for this kind of match,” added Tuchel. Whose side began the group stage with a 3-2 defeat by the Reds at Anfield. Before struggling to contain Napoli in the two draws with the Italian side.
However, PSG scored 10 goals in two games against Red Star, who beat Liverpool and drew with Napoli in Belgrade. Therefore, theses dropped points have allowed the Ligue 1 leaders to finish top.
“We are happy, we came for qualification and we showed our intentions (with the win),” said Mbappe, who laid on Cavani’s opener.
Asked about Paris Saint-Germain’s chances of winning the Champions League, Mbappe added: “We need to see what we’ll have in front of us. The goal is to get to the quarter-finals. But we’ll deal with what we are given in the draw.”