Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Clermont: Mbappe on target in emphatic win without Messi & Neymar

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 11 Sep 2021

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Paris Saint-Germain maintained their 100 per cent record in Ligue 1 this season as Kylian Mbappe and Ander Herrera propelled Mauricio Pochettino’s team to a 4-0 victory over Clermont.

Without Lionel Messi and Neymar, who along with Leandro Paredes and Angel Di Maria were given extra rest following their international exploits in midweek, PSG still made light work of sealing a fifth straight win.

Passed fit to feature after sustaining a calf injury while on France duty, Mbappe – the subject of three failed bids from Real Madrid at the end of August – scored his fourth goal of the season on a typically blistering counter-attack 10 minutes into the second half.

Herrera’s first-half double had put PSG into a comfortable position, with promoted Clermont barely troubling debutant Gianluigi Donnarumma despite plenty of attacking intent, as Idrissa Gueye wrapped up an emphatic win.

Mbappe created PSG’s first chance after 11 minutes, though Marquinhos was unable to direct the forward’s free-kick either side of Arthur Desmas.

Clermont’s resolve was punctured in the 20th minute, though – Herrera on hand to head home after Desmas had parried Achraf Hakimi’s cross-shot.

Danilo Pereira would have made it 2-0 four minutes later if not for Akim Zedadka’s block, yet PSG would not be denied for long.

Herrera was once again in the right place at the right time to pounce on a loose ball, this time lashing a finish into the roof of the net, while a goal-line block prevented Julian Draxler netting a third before half-time.

There was to be no such reprieve for Clermont early in the second half – Mbappe rounding the goalkeeper to finish coolly after racing onto Draxler’s lofted pass.

Mbappe should have doubled his tally, or teed up Rafinha, just after the hour, only for the youngster to chip wide when one-on-one with Desmas.

He atoned moments later, a rebound from his shot falling to Gueye, who nodded in at the back post to cap off a slick display.

What does it mean? Clinical PSG warm up for Champions League campaign

Club Brugge are next up for PSG, who are looking to finally end their wait for Champions League glory.

Pochettino will likely have Neymar, Di Maria and, of course, Messi back for that game, and he will be delighted with the relative ease with which his team tackled what could have been a tricky fixture.

Such an emphatic win is almost the ideal preparation, with Pochettino also able to take off some key players like Hakimi and Mbappe as the clock wound down.

Another team ticked off for Mbappe

Mbappe has now scored against 26 of the 27 teams he has faced in Ligue 1, with the only exception being PSG, who he failed to net against for Monaco in 2016-17.

The 22-year-old has now been directly involved in at least one goal in each of his last 10 Ligue 1 games (11 goals, three assists), equalling his best such performance in the top-flight, set in 2020.

Reality check for plucky Clermont

With two wins and two draws, Clermont became the first team to remain unbeaten in their first-ever four games in Ligue 1 since Guingamp in 1995-96, though they came crashing back to Earth on Saturday.

That being said, Pascal Gastien’s team stuck to their principles, and can at least be proud of how they approached the match, always looking to get on the front foot, as represented by their 14 attempts – one more than PSG managed.

What’s next?

PSG get their Champions League campaign up and running against Brugge on Wednesday, while Clermont host Brest next Sunday.

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