Neymar turns it on as seven-up PSG destroy Celtic
Moussa Dembele had put the visitors ahead inside a minute at the Parc des Princes, but Neymar’s brace soon turned the game around and both Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe added goals of their own before the interval.
Marco Verratti made it five with quarter of an hour left, before Cavani got his second and a sensational Dani Alves hit wrapped up the French giants’ biggest win in the competition.
Already through to the last 16 before this game, they will look to clinch top spot in Group B ahead of Bayern Munich when they travel to Germany for their final outing next month.
Bayern won 2-1 at Anderlecht on Wednesday, while PSG remain on course to finish with maximum points in the section having already set a new group-stage goals record with 24.
“He is extraordinary. He wants to be there in every match. When he is on the pitch he is happy and wants his team-mates and the fans to enjoy themselves,” said PSG coach Unai Emery of Neymar’s dazzling display.
Celtic, who were already eliminated, will at least secure a Europa League spot in the New Year as long as they avoid a heavy defeat at home to Anderlecht in their next outing.
“There are lessons for us. We can keep the ball a bit better, and secondly you’ve got to defend better, but you also have to admire the sheer quality of Paris Saint-Germain,” admitted their manager Brendan Rodgers.
They had suffered their heaviest ever home defeat in Europe when they last faced PSG in September, losing 5-0. They had also only ever managed just two wins in 29 previous away games in the group stage, and yet they stunned their hosts by going ahead with just 58 seconds played.
Celtic score too soon?
Alves gave away a corner before Paris had even made it out of their own half and Olivier Ntcham’s low delivery was swept home by Dembele, the highly-rated France under-21 striker who was on PSG’s books as a youngster.
That scuppered PSG’s hopes of becoming the first side to complete the group phase without conceding a goal, but quickly the Scottish side were wondering if they had scored too soon.
Neymar’s form has dipped over the last six weeks, and yet the Brazilian led the turnaround in stunning style.
He levelled in the ninth minute with a low finish into the far corner following an Adrien Rabiot pass, and he scored again midway through the first half after a one-two with Verratti.
That was a sixth goal in five Champions League outings this season for the world’s most expensive player, and it was also the seventh time he had found the net against Celtic.
He loves playing against the Scottish side and he claimed an assist as it became 3-1 just before the half-hour, using his shoulder to help an Alves ball across goal for Cavani to turn in.
Poor Celtic defending contributed to PSG getting their fourth before the interval, as they failed to deal with a Neymar free-kick into the box and Mbappe fired in.
The Ligue 1 leaders took their foot off the gas after the break but they rounded out their win with three more goals late on.
Celtic lost 7-0 to Neymar’s Barcelona in this competition last season and this turned into a similar hiding as Verratti made it five before Cavani volleyed in his 21st of the season.
The best was saved for last as Alves made it seven with a quite stunning effort from 22 yards that arced into the top-left corner. That allowed PSG to beat their previous best result in the competition, a 7-2 victory against Rosenborg in 2000.
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