Paris Saint-Germain coasted to a 2-0 victory over Malmo last night in the opening match of Group A. Goals from Angel di Maria and Edinson Cavani consolidated a comfortable night for Les Parisiens who were adorning the brand new ‘Dark, Light’ third strip.
The team pretty much picked itself. Zlatan Ibrahimovic started – of course he did – after doing everything to overcome his fitness woes as of late. Cavani played from the left with Di Maria opposite. David Luiz returned to the centre of defence alongside Thiago Silva. Maxwell was fit enough to start despite picking up a knock against Bordeaux. And Gregory Van der Wiel came in for the suspended Serge Aurier.
Di Maria was the shining light, the star of the show. The new man dazzled the attendees at the Parc des Princes with his elegance on the ball whilst contributing with some audacious passes that cut Malmo to pieces at times. He got the ball rolling with his first goal at the club. The Swedes’ high defensive line was punished as little Marco Verratti played a ball over the top which ADM latched onto before slotting home with aplomb.
PSG absolutely bossed proceedings from then on in. Zlatan had a host of chances to enhance the lead but was unable to take one. He showed glimpses of his quality but you could tell he was not 100% fit.
The hosts accumulated a staggering 882 passes compared to 285 from the visitors. 41% of the attacks came from the right-hand side which was largely contributed by Di Maria but also Gregory Van der Wiel who had a terrific game on his return to the side. He was heavily involved in the attacking play whilst producing some teasing crosses into the box.
PSG were very nearly caught napping at 1-0 though as Nikola Durdic fired just wide of Kevin Trapp’s post after bullying Van der Wiel off the ball.
After the interval it was just a matter of time before the second went in and that came via ‘El Matador’, Edisnon Cavani. This was a gorgeous goal, Max played in the cross, flicked on by Ibra and headed home by the number 9 to the delirium of the Parc.
Substitute Ezequiel Lavezzi had a goal ruled out for offside on stoppage time which would not have flattered the performance from the French champions.
Coach Laurent Blanc was buoyed post-match by the performance of his team; “We quickly showed our intentions in this match with Angel scoring early. We showed more concentration and motivation than our last match in the league against Bordeaux. It’s always hard to win in the Champions League, so it’s a good thing to have started this campaign with a 2-0 victory. We know we can still do better, but it’s only the start of the season”.
Real Madrid demolished Shakhtar Donetsk 4-0 at the Bernabeu so they sit top f Group A but it already looks as if ourselves and Los Blancos will be vying it out for that top spot till the bitter end come December.