Neymar began repaying his world record transfer fee as he made one and scored another to inspire new club Paris Saint Germain to victory on his debut, although ‘Les Parisiens’ were indebted to a calamitous own-goal from Guingamp’s Jordan Ikoko to set them on their way.
After finally gaining clearance to take to the field following his £198 million transfer from Barcelona, the world’s most expensive player teed up Edison Cavani to score PSG’s second goal, before the Uruguayan returned the favour to allow Neymar to complete the scoring as PSG ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at Stade Municipal de Roudourou.
“It’s a great day today”, said Neymar after his debut.
“I am very happy for my assist and my goal and of course for the win tonight.”
With the eyes of the footballing world watching, PSG’s world record signing was central to everything the capital club produced throughout the 90 minutes.
Guingamp restricted the six time French champions for large parts of the first-half, with Neymar twice producing magic to conjure good openings. First, after 19 minutes, he picked the ball up 35 yards from goal and drove past helpless Guingamp defenders but could not find the target with a powerful right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Then, after 34 minutes, the £198 million man floated a pinpoint cross on to the head of Marquinhos, only to see his compatriot strike the upright with a free header from 12 yards.
The breakthrough came seven minutes in to the second-half, with Neymar playing a leading role. Picking the ball up in a central position, the Brazilian moved forward before looking to slide in Cavani from 25 yards. A desperate sliding tackle from Pedro Braga Rebocho at the edge of the area stopped the ball reaching the PSG striker and it looked like the danger was gone when the ball fell to Guingamp defender Jordan Ikoko just inside the box. But disaster followed for Guingamp.
With Angel di Maria and Neymar closing in, Ikoko fluffed his attempted back-pass, sending the ball beyond the despairing lunge of his goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson and in to his own net via the right-hand post.
If the first PSG goal was fortunate, the second was sheer quality. Neymar demonstrated why ‘Les Parisiens’ were prepared to meet his astronomical buyout clause as he split open the Guingamp defence to pick out the run of Cavani, who took a touch and curled an unstoppable right foot shot beyond Johnsson from the edge of the area.
And the man of the moment had the final word, tapping home from the middle of the six yard box after Cavani had pounced on a loose ball in the box and teed up his newest team-mate to make it 0-3.
“The team played 90 minutes with a great spirit”, claimed PSG manager Unai Emery.
“Guingamp defended very well in the first. We were patient until the first goal.
“We had a lot of chances but the team stayed together and we were strong. I think we played a very great game.”
–Alistair Sargent (Editor, Sport)
Picture: Philippe Agnifili