PSG 7-1 Celtic: Neymar, Cavani and Mbappé all on target as Bhoys dismantled

Neymar and Edinson Cavani both netted two while Kylian Mbappé impressed too as PSG demolished Celtic to break Champions League records and finish as Group B winners with one matchday fixture still to come.  

Having conceded after less than a minute to Moussa Dembele, the hosts’ hopes of finishing the group as the first team to avoid conceding in all six fixtures was quickly extinguished.

The 21-year-old Frenchman, who left Paris for then-Premier League side Fulham after eight years in their academy, applied the finishing touch to a well-worked move from a corner.

This came directly after an intense wave of Celtic pressure on PSG players in their own half, giving them no time on the ball and forcing mistakes in quick succession before winning a set-piece – from which they broke the deadlock, silencing the Parc des Princes instantly.

It was not going to last long, though.

Scott Brown’s misplaced pass fell kindly for Adrien Rabiot, who burst forward before releasing the run of Neymar. He struck low and hard goalwards, watching the ball fizz past Craig Gordon into the bottom corner.

The 34-year-old goalkeeper would’ve been disappointed not to have kept that one out, but he could do nothing to stop Neymar’s second after 21 minutes.

A neatly-worked one-two exchange alongside Marco Verratti saw the forward through with only Gordon to beat, and he opted to strike in the same corner to give PSG the lead.

In fairness, it was coming too. Mbappé had fired wide just minutes earlier, while Celtic continued to retreat further in their half and allow their hosts too much time as well as space in possession.

Dembele and Olivier Ntcham, signed for £4.5m from Manchester City in the summer, both came close after creating opportunities beforehand.

That was as good as it got for the travelling Celtic side.

The MCN trio combined well as PSG netted twice in seven minutes: first Cavani from an in-swinging free-kick that was poorly defended. Then, Mbappé applied the finishing touch after Marquinhos’ incisive pass inside the box from yet another set-piece delivery.

4-1 up at the interval, PSG were cruising and looked like they could score whenever they accelerated forward in attack. Rampant, aggressive and equally unpredictable, you almost felt sympathy for Celtic players as they struggled to handle their counterparts.

On another night, PSG could have easily reached double figures. Celtic were ultimately architects of their own downfall, after costly mistakes – both in possession and defensively – were taken advantage of to devastating effect.

Neymar seemed too eager to display his array of skills and overcomplicate things as opposed to much else, just showing how comfortable they were at times.

He could have scored a hat-trick and despite an excellent display, his decision-making at times was nonetheless frustrating to watch.

Mbappé’s weight of pass and eye for goal were evident to see here too, though he was unfortunate not to earn a handful of assists for his link-up play in attack.

It was Kylian himself who set up goal five, bursting past highly-rated fullback Kieran Tierney as though he was nowhere to be seen down the flank.

Marco Verratti hammered low and hard past Gordon before Cavani did the same with a sweetly-struck volley at the far post shortly afterward.

Dani Alves capped a fantastic win with an equally excellent swerving strike on the edge of the area. It dipped, curved and moved quickly in the air, leaving Gordon to watch helplessly as it nestled in off the far post.

Final thoughts

As I said, it was a dominant performance from PSG’s perspective and one that will give them another morale boost ahead of matchday six, a significantly tougher test against Bayern Munich.

They were 3-0 winners in September but the Bundesliga champions will be eager to exact revenge at the Allianz and pose more questions about whether PSG are really that good, ahead of crunch knockout ties to come after Christmas.

You can only beat who is in-front of you, Unai Emery’s men have done exactly that but questions about their defensive capability are still to be answered. You suspect we will have a better idea in the months to come, though their record for no goals conceded came to an abrupt end here.

It’s back to the drawing board for Celtic after this latest heavy defeat, as they face Motherwell in the Cup this weekend.

Many critics have said they need to invest heavily in defensive reinforcements if they are to challenge effectively when Champions League action comes around.

They can still qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout rounds as they face bottom side Anderlecht on the final matchday, though displays like this show why they’re not yet ready to mix it with the bigger and better sides.

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