Champions League

UCL: Paris Saint-Germain Slaughter Anderlecht In The Shade

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 18: Neymar Jr, Dani Alves aka Daniel Alves, Presnel Kimpembe, Julian Draxler, Adrien Rabiot, Layvin Kursawa of PSG salute the fans and celebrate the victory following the UEFA Champions League match between RSC Anderlecht and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium on October 18, 2017 in Anderlecht, Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
UCL: Paris Saint-Germain Slaughter Anderlecht In The Shade

It was like shelling peas for Unai Emery’s Paris Saint-Germain Football Club, who played their cards right unlike their debacle against Dijon FCO, dictated the flow of the game and put the boots to Hein Vanhaezebrouck’s RSC Anderlecht 4-0 at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Anderlecht, Belgium. The MCN tandem of Kylian Mbappe (3′), Edinson Cavani (44′) and Neymar Santos Jr. (66′) all got in on the party, as did Angel Di Maria (88′) late.

“It’s such a pleasure to play in this team, because I’ve come all the way through the youth set-up,” said PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola. “There is a really good feeling at the moment, especially with all the big names that we now have. I’m committed to keeping learning, training and improving, as I realise you have to be the very best to remain part of this.

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“It’s extremely satisfying to have kept three clean sheets in the Champions League so far. I intend to keep that going for as long as possible, but I realise that things will get increasingly difficult as we progress in the competition.”

Paris Saint-Germain’s quality was on showcase in a match that saw the visitors outshoot Anderlecht (nine to seven) and the hosts rack up more corners (six to one). Paris had a slight edge in passing with superior passing accuracy (82 percent to 81 percent), passes (578 to 571), passes completed (474 to 460) and distance covered (107.3 km to 106.8 km for Anderlecht). PSG’s defense was rock solid with 50 recoveries (compared to 45 for Anderlecht) and 11 clearances (compared to just six for the hosts).

“I’m very pleased with the individual performances, but there is progress to be made in terms of the team,” said Emery after the game. “In this type of match, what’s important is to improve the small details. The first half wasn’t perfect in terms of our control of the match, and we sometimes got surprised on the break, but in the second period we found a better balance and had a tactical discipline. We know there won’t be any easy matches this season.”

“We scored right at the start, but Anderlecht played very well and had chances,” added PSG midfielder Marco Verratti. “It wasn’t a great game from us, but we’re happy with the result. We can do even better, and we created a lot of chances. We have great players who can make the difference. We defended well and also had a little luck.”

A more wide-open match is expected on Oct. 22 when PSG complete their three-game road trip away to Olympique de Marseille at the Stade Velodrome. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET.

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@joryansalazar

Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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