Just like last year Paris Saint-Germain have kicked off the new season by claiming silverware overseas with a 2-0 victory over Guingamp in Beijing. The Trophee des Champions will be heading back to Paris after a comfortable performance in which Zlatan Ibrahimovic excelled with a brace.
In front of 50,000+ in the infamous Worker’s Stadium, Les Parisiens more or less killed the game off within the first 20 minutes. Set up in a 4-4-3, the young lads Hervin Ongenda and Jean-Christophe Bahebeck deservedly retained their places after a successful pre-season. Bahebeck especially has been in sparkling form. He was proving to be a tricky customer again to an opposition defence with the occasion clearly not fazing him. Gregory Van der Wiel got the nod ahead of Serge Aurier with the Dutchman proving to be as influential as he was last season down the right-hand side. Javier Pastore started in the midfield trio alongside Thiago Motta and Marcro Verratti. In truth, El Flaco was one of our more impressive performers, finding pockets of space to work into as well as undertaking a disciplined performance.
Ibra opened the scoring with a long range effort that gave goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa no chance. The EAG defence backed off with the big Swede ultimately punishing them.
The captain then made it 2-0 from the penalty-spot 10 minutes later. Bahebeck was bundled over in the box by the veteran Lars Jaconsen who clearly felt unjustified. Regardless, Zlatan stepped up to convert with aplomb.
Things could have been different had Mustapha Yatabare converted his penalty. He was denied by a fantastic Salvatore Sirigu save. It all came about after Marquinhos obstructed Claudio Beauvue which looked to be outside the 18-yard box.
After the interval Edinson Cavani was brought on with the system changing to a 4-3-1-2 with Pastore playing just behind El Matador and Ibra. The Swede however was dropping deeper in the final half. The system then changed to a standard 4-4-2 when Lucas came on for the last 10 minutes or so. It shows the versatility the squad as to adopt these different formations.
All in all, a successful Far-East tour with another piece of silverware coming back to the Parc des Princes. With a number of players to return next week we stand in very good stead for another successful season under Monsieur Blanc. If that involves Angel di Maria or not, remains to be seen. But there is no denying this squad is capable of big things again!