PARIS (AP) — An unavailable Neymar scored a goal and provided three assists to lead defending champion Paris Saint-Germain to a 5-0 victory over Clermont in Ligue 1 on Saturday.
Lionel Messi also contributed two goals and one assist.
Neymar’s movement and technique troubled Clermont. In the 7th minute, a low cross from Achraf Hakimi, Alidu Seidu shot wide.
Two minutes later, Pablo Sarabia passed the ball back to Messi, who bounced it towards Neymar. The Brazilian striker had the ball in control before burying it in the bottom corner.
Paris Saint-Germain took advantage of the fast break on the 26th and Neymar found Ashraf Hakimi, who scored.
Neymar scored the third goal with a precise free-kick for Marchinhos, who headed home in the 39th minute.
At the end of the half, Neymar gave Messi a supplementary shot, and Messi’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Mauridio.
Paris Saint-Germain slowed down in the second half against Clermont, who came close to relegation last season.
Messi still led 4-0 in the 80th minute. He played a one-two with Neymar before scoring with a low shot.
The Argentine superstar sealed the victory by knocking a Leandro Paredes ball over his head in the 86th to score with a header.
“What I like is the desire of the team to get the ball back quickly, to play at a high intensity,” Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier said. “Leo reacts very quickly when possession is lost. , Ney also worked hard in the defensive position to help the team stay compact and win the ball.”
Chasing a record 11th league title, PSG miss out on Kylian Mbappe, who is nursing a groin problem, and Renato Sanchez, who was signed on Thursday but lacks game fitness.
Paris Saint-Germain have excluded some high-profile players from their matchday squad who are reportedly looking to leave: Mauro Icardi, Julian Draxler, Ander Herrera, Idrissa Gueye, Rafinha, Thilo Keller and Levin Kurzawa.
Meanwhile, Krepin Diata and Sofiana Diop scored as a weakened Monaco won 2-1 in Strasbourg.
In a clash between contenders for European places, Diatta scored with a powerful volley from the edge of the box in the 43rd minute. The Senegalese winger could have scored another goal on the 48th but Strasbourg goalkeeper Mats Sells saved his chip.
Diop, a France Under-21 international, doubled the lead by converting a rebound in the 53rd after Sells received a deflected cross from Gelson Martins .
Strasbourg striker Habib Diallo pulled one back in the 65th minute with a header from Thomas Delaine’s cross.
Monaco and Strasbourg finished third and sixth respectively last season.
Sells denied Martins in the 35th minute, diverted Lucas’s close-range shot to the post in the 61st minute and saved a goal from substitute Magnes Acclioche in the 85th minute. headed down, thus limiting damage.
Monaco goalkeeper Alexander Nubel saved the victory by preventing Adrian Thomassen’s close-range effort in stoppage time.
“We have a chance to lead 3-0 and 4-0,” Monaco coach Philippe Clement said. “It’s a matter of experience. It’s normal for young players, they have to learn their lessons, they have to gain experience in this situation.”
Monaco missed the suspended Kevin Wallan and Alexander Golovin, the injured Takumi Minamino, Benoit Badiashile and Myron Boadu, and the sick Caio Henrique.
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