World-record signing Neymar scored and set up another goal on an impressive debut for Paris Saint-Germain in a 3-0 win at Guingamp on Sunday.
Neymar was dangerous throughout the French league match, creating chances at the Roudourou stadium against a well-organized side that only cracked early in the second half when Jordan Ikoko scored an embarrassing own-goal.
PSG was in total control afterward.
Edinson Cavani added PSG’s second goal 10 minutes later on the break after being set up by Neymar, and the Brazil star sealed the win from Cavani’s assist.
PSG’s second win in two matches lifted the Paris side level on points with leader Lyon.
Neymar, who signed from Barcelona last week for a record 222 million euros ($262 million), missed the start of the season at the Parc des Princes against Amiens due to paperwork problems.
He was included in coach Unai Emery’s starting lineup on Sunday on the left wing of PSG’s attack. Emery opted for a 4-3-3 formation with Angel Di Maria supporting Cavani on the other wing.
Guingamp supporters held up a banner which mocked PSG president Nasser Al-Khalaifi on his purchase and said: “Nasser buy us a round.”
Cavani and Neymar combined well with a series of short passes for each other around the penalty area, although they struggled to break through the hosts’ solid defense.
Cavani had PSG’s first chance in the 15th but saw his well-taken effort denied by ‘keeper Karl-Johan Johnsson.
Neymar fired his first shot of the game soon after, driving the ball forward with brutal acceleration to pass a defender but his strike went well over the bar.
Neymar then set up Marquinhos with a precise curled cross on the left side of the box, only for the PSG defender to send his diving header against the bar.
Cavani put more pressure on Johansson in the 35th with a dangerous free kick tipped over by the Swedish ‘keeper but PSG could not break the deadlock before the interval as referee Antony Gautier waved off penalty claims from Neymar and Di Maria.
Etienne Didot came close to opening the scoring two minutes into the second half for the hosts with a long-range shot which narrowly went wide.
But the hosts saw all their efforts damaged when Ikoko, who had contained Neymar, beat his own ‘keeper with a clumsy back pass that ended in the back of the net.
Guingamp pushed hard for an equalizer but was caught on the break in the 62nd as Cavani, the league’s top scorer last season, connected with a through ball from Neymar and finished off the move with a low shot.
C avani then turned provider to set up Neymar with a generous cut-back that the Brazil captain converted from close range with a poke.
FALCAO HAT TRICK
Radamel Falcao scored a hat trick as Monaco posted a 14th straight win in the French league in a 4-1 thrashing of Dijon on Sunday.
The Colombia striker needed just three minutes to put the defending champions in command and added two more goals in the 38th and 51st minutes.
Jemerson was also on the scoresheet for the visitors in the 25th, and Wesley Said pulled one back for Dijon just before halftime.
Monaco is unbeaten in the league since December last year and equaled Bordeaux’s record of 14 consecutive wins, set in August 2009. It moved level on points with PSG and leader Lyon, with two wins in two matches of the new season.
With Kylian Mbappe expected to leave in the coming weeks, Monaco can still count on Falcao’s superb skills to score. Falcao has four goals in two league games after scoring last weekend in a 3-1 win against Toulouse, while Mbappe stayed on the bench in Dijon.
Falcao’s goal instinct was on display as he made no mistake from close range after the hosts failed to clear a corner. Jemerson made it 2-0 from another corner and Falcao curled a superb shot into the top right corner to extend Monaco’s lead.
Said kept Dijon’s hopes alive with a shot between the legs of ‘keeper Danijel Subasic. It was a short-lived respite for the hosts as Falcao met a cross from Thomas Lemar to seal his team’s win with a header six minutes into the second half.
HE’S (NOT) A ‘KEEPER
Forced to play without a proper goalkeeper in the final 27 minutes, Lille went down 3-0 at promoted Strasbourg in the French league on Sunday.
Striker Nicolas De Preville took the ‘keeper duties after Mike Maignan was sent off for throwing the ball at a Strasbourg player. Lille coach Marcelo Bielsa had already made his three substitutions and was unable to bring another goalkeeper on to the pitch.
De Preville remained in goal for 11 minutes until Jonas Martin broke the deadlock for the hosts. De Preville then left the gloves to midfielder Ibrahim Amadou, who conceded two more goals from Dimitri Lienard, who scored from the spot, and Jeremy Grimm.
Bielsa had to make two changes in the first 18 minutes after Thiago Mendes and Kevin Malcuit picked up injuries. Bielsa made a third replacement, for tactical reasons, before the interval.
It was Lille’s first loss after the northern side opened its season with a 3-0 win against Nantes last weekend. Strasbourg bounced back from a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Lyon in Week 1 to post a first win in the top flight since 2008.