The Kylian Mbappe era at Unai Emery’s Paris Saint-Germain Football Club of the namesake metropole’s 16th Arrondissement got off to a slow start but in the second half, the attacking combo of Edinson Cavani, Neymar Santos Jr. and Kylian Mbappe dialed in scoring a goal apiece as the mighty PSG smashed Philippe Hinschberger’s FC Metz’ 5-1 at the Stade Saint-Symphorien in Metz, France.
“We’re happy with the three points, the team deserved this win. Metz played well in the first half and even equalised,” said Emery. “After the red card, we had more space and the match turned when we scored the second. We controlled the match from start to finish.”
The match got turned on its head when Benoit Assou-Ekotto was sent off in the 56th minute for a brutal studs-up tackle on Mbappe. After the boy wonder—whose Parisian football roots lie in his youth side AS Bondy—made Metz pay three minutes later with his first-ever goal for Paris, the embattled Hinschberger was sent to the stands for verbally abusing the fourth official and Metz never recovered from two ejections within the span of four minutes.
“We came to win,” said PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola. “We knew it would be difficult, just as it was last season when it was already very difficult. We played a serious and disciplined game. It was difficult to take our chances in the first half, they defended well, but in the second we were able to play our game and win in style.”
Eventually, the stats would justify the scoreline. Cavani scored a brace in the 31st and 75th minutes and other goalscorers included Neymar (69′), Mbappe (59′) and Lucas Moura (88′), who also opened his account for the league season. PSG dominated possesion (73 percent to 27 percent), shots (16 to 15) and corners (seven to six). Despite the scoreline, goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima performed admirably for Metz and was easily best on ground for the home side with six saves.
“I’m very happy to have scored my first game with Paris,” said Mbappe to Canal Plus. “I managed to get the better of my marker and shot hard, it went in, it gave us some breathing space and we were able to play as we wanted afterwards. I’m very happy to be here, I want to give the best of myself all the time and improve alongside the best players in Europe.”
5 – Paris have picked up 5 wins after 5 matchdays in Ligue 1 for the first time ever. History. pic.twitter.com/nw0sZHuxs2
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) September 8, 2017
“I think we played well this evening,” concluded Cavani to Canal Plus. “We were good in every area of the pitch. Of course it’s difficult with ten against 11, but we deserve the win because we played well. I feel good, despite the trip to play for my country. I always want to play if I can and the coach chose to pick me this evening, which is good for me. I always give my best, it’s positive for everyone, and we feel good on the pitch. There are some great players at Paris, I hope we’ll continue to improve.”
2 – Against Metz tonight:
Edinson Cavani – 2 ⚽️
Kylian Mbappé – 1 ⚽️, 1 🅰️
Neymar – 1 ⚽️, 1 🅰️
— Optajean (@OptaJean) September 8, 2017
There was some talk in some circles questioning the decision to not rest Neymar ahead of the match with Celtic in the UEFA Champions League. However, it was important that Mbappe settled in with how the Parisians dictated their style of play. Nonetheless, some fine tuning will be in order when they make the flight to Scotland and the always-dangerous Celtic Park against the best team in Scottish club football. It may even be, dare we say it, a warmup match for another delicious home test against a certain…Olympique Lyonnais.