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Neymar scores as Paris Saint-Germain get title defence off to winning start

Paris Saint-Germain have made a winning start to their Ligue 1 title defence courtesy of a 3-0 victory over Caen at the Parc des Princes this evening.

It took Neymar only 10 minutes to open his account for the season on his first league appearance for the club since February, and Adrien Rabiot gave the hosts a two-goal cushion 10 minutes before half time.

Caen’s goal lived an increasingly charmed life as the match wore on, and it was not until the 89th minute that Thomas Tuchel’s side added a third, with Timothy Weah being rewarded for good pressure by tackling the goalkeeper and sending the ball into the net.

The hosts wasted little time in getting on the front foot and broke the deadlock 10 minutes into their campaign when Christopher Nkunku unlocked the defence with a through-ball for Neymar, who latched on to the pass before placing his finish past the keeper.

The game quickly fell into a familiar pattern of PSG dominating possession, and they almost doubled their advantage midway through the first half when Angel Di Maria’s low drive across goal forced Brice Samba into a smart low stop.

There was nothing the Caen keeper could do about the second goal after 35 minutes, though, as a devastating team move ended with Rabiot converting Di Maria’s low cross from inside the six-yard box.

Summer signing Gianluigi Buffon had little to do at the opposite end of the pitch, although the 40-year-old – who is now the oldest player to feature for PSG in the league – was called upon shortly before half time when he gathered a tame effort from Alexander Djiku, who should have done better having peeled away from his marker from a free kick.

Indeed, Buffon’s biggest test of the first half came from his own teammate when he needed to show sharp reactions to prevent Marquinhos from turning the ball into his own net with just two minutes to go until the interval.

Caen showed more signs of being able to haul themselves back into the match at the start of the second half, and Buffon was left stranded seven minutes after the restart when he watched Stef Peeters’s free kick crash against the upright.

PSG soon regained control over proceedings, though, and it took a stunning save from Samba shortly after the hour mark to prevent the hosts from going further ahead when he clawed Di Maria’s header away.

Tuchel’s side came even closer to increasing their lead with six minutes of normal time remaining when Weah – who had replaced Neymar just two minutes earlier – fired an effort across goal which came back off the inside of the post before trickling across the line and being gathered by a grateful Samba.

The charmed life of Caen’s goal would not last much longer, though, and Weah had his goal in the 89th minute when Samba was caught dwelling on the ball. The youngster tackled the goalkeeper and sent the ball over the line to cap off the scoring, wrapping up a comfortable three points for the defending champions.

 

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