Neymar was the star of the show as Paris Saint-Germain swept aside Montpellier to strengthen their hold on the Ligue 1 summit.

Defending champions Paris Saint-Germain kicked off their first home game of the Ligue 1 season with a dominating 5-2 win over minnows Montpellier.

Neymar was the man of the hour as the Brazilian combined expertly with Lionel Messi to put the Montpellier defence under pressure. PSG, for all their dominance, took some time to find the back of the net.

Montpellier defender Falaye Sacko relented and put the ball into his own net in the 39th minute to hand Les Parisiens the lead on the night. This opened the floodgates as Neymar found the back of the net in the 43rd minute to put the home side two up at the break.

The Brazilian made it 3-0 soon after the break before Wahbi Khazri pulled one back for the visitors. Kylian Mbappe restored his side’s three-goal lead in the 68th minute before substitute Renato Sanches capped off his debut with a goal in the 87th minute. Montpellier restored some respectability to the scoreline when Enzo Gianni Tchato Mbiayi scored in stoppage time. It was, however, a mere consolation.

PSG’s performance lacked bite in several areas and the scoreline was a reminder of their South American attack duo’s brilliance. Mbappe looked rusty and contrived to miss a first-half penalty as well. Ultimately PSG’s quality shone through, and they their chances. Christophe Galtier’s men have now scored five goals apiece in their two Ligue 1 games and sit pretty atop the table. The Hard Tackle looks at how the PSG stars fared on the night.

Gianluigi Donnarumma: 6/10

The Italian international had little to do in the first half as the home side enjoyed much possession. He almost made a hash of a pass, but Achraf Hakimi reacted in time to bail the goalkeeper out. Donnarumma showed off his distribution skills otherwise and cannot be faulted for either of Montpellier’s goals.

Presnel Kimpembe: 6/10

The Frenchman was largely solid on the night and his positioning gave Nuno Mendes the freedom to burst forward. Kimpembe did not take too many risks and was at hand whenever Montpellier looked to counter down their right flank. He also ended the game with a perfect passing record that saw him misplace none of his 52 passes. Kimpembe earned himself a yellow card on the night while also going close with a header late on.

Marquinhos: 6/10

The Brazilian defender organised the defence well as PSG maintained a high line. It was a solid yet unspectacular performance from Marquinhos, who kept things simple at the back.

Sergio Ramos: 6/10

The veteran defender did not look out of place and was calm under pressure. He kept the ball ticking and was available to make a long pass when needed. While it was not a vintage performance by any standards, Ramos did what was expected of him with little fuss.

Achraf Hakimi: 6/10

The Moroccan international was a constant menace down the right flank and ran into space whenever possible. While he could have contributed more defensively, there were not any glaring errors that left his side high and dry. Hakimi also played a role in setting up two of PSG’s goals and failed to strike the target with two attempts at goal.

Vitinha : 6/10

The summer recruit got his first taste of competitive action at the Parc des Princes. He showed off his impressive passing ability and also earned himself a yellow card for a tenacious foul. Vitinha has built up a good rapport with Marco Verratti, and it will only help PSG in the long run.

Marco Verratti: 7/10

The Italian maestro dominated the midfield and helped PSG dictate the game. An efficient passer, he brought the ball out of some packed environs and provided the base for the trio of Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar to wreak havoc. Verratti also carried the ball forward when he could while also breaking down any counters that Montpellier tried to make.

Nuno Mendes: 6/10

The Portuguese youngster offered little defensively and was given the licence to push forward. He however, lacked the cutting edge to make an impact and lacked the ability to make the decisive final pass. Mendes is capable of much more and should be doing better in a side that is miles ahead of its competition on the domestic scene.

Kylian Mbappe: 6/10

The French superstar returned to action after an injury layoff and looked rusty. He lacked the usual cutting edge and even contrived to miss a first-half penalty. Mbappe, however, kept pushing and eventually got himself on the scoresheet in the second half. The performance was certainly underwhelming and Mbappe will need to step up to the level of his strike partners in the coming weeks.

Lionel Messi: 8/10

The Argentine magician was a lively presence on the night and made use of his excellent ability on the ball to wriggle out of tight spaces. Messi has formed a good rapport with Neymar and won the second penalty that the latter converted from the spot. The veteran also went close with a well-taken free-kick in the first half. Messi appears to be in his element in Ligue 1 and will take some stopping.

Neymar: 9/10

Neymar was the standout player on the night and once again grabbed himself a brace. He constantly had a go at the Montpellier defence and used his technical ability to great effect. Neymar also appears to be channelling his partnership with Messi from their days in Barcelona, and the duo combined well on several occasions. The Brazilian is, by far, PSG’s difference-maker at the moment and is showing no signs of slowing down.

SUBSTITUTES

Leandro Paredes: 6/10

Paredes replaced Vitinha in the second half after the latter picked up a booking. The Argentine kept the ball rolling and looked assured in possession.

Renato Sanches: 7/10

The Portuguese midfielder replaced the mercurial Verratti and looked at home in Christophe Galtier’s side. He also capped off his debut for PSG with a well-taken goal in the 87th minute.

Nordi Mukiele: N/A

He replaced Hakimi late on but had little time to make an impact.

Pablo Sarabia: N/A

The midfielder replaced Kylian Mbappe late on.

Hugo Ekitike: N/A

The prodigious youngster made his Parc des Princes debut and replaced Neymar in stoppage time. He had little time to show off his ability on the night.

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