Lionel Messi scored a sensational bicycle kick goal as Paris Saint-Germain began their Ligue 1 title defense with an emphatic 5-0 win over Clermont at the Stade Gabriel Montpied on Saturday.
Messi netted a brace with goals from Neymar, Achraf Hakimi and Marquinhos as they followed up the 4-0 Trophée des Champions win over Nantes last weekend with another easy win.
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It took them just nine minutes to take the lead as Messi brilliantly tossed the ball into the path of Neymar, who completed a great move.
Hakimi scored midway through the first half on a whirlwind counterattack, before Marquinhos headed Neymar’s free kick into the net.
Neymar then provided a fourth for Messi, before the Argentine striker capped off an excellent performance with a stunning goal, fending off a pass from Leandro Paredes and delivering a finish on the bike.
PSG were without the third member of their star attacking trio, Kylian Mbappe, through injury. New coach Christophe Galtier has entrusted PSG’s Ligue 1 debut to the summer arrivals of Vitinha, Hugo Ekitike and Nordi Mukiele.
There was also the debut of Warren Zaire-Emery, who at 16 years, four months and 29 days became the youngest player to ever play for PSG in a competitive game.
“A lot of satisfaction, first and foremost with the win,” Galtier said afterwards. “Winning the game and scoring five goals is important, as is not conceding chances and maintaining high levels throughout, even when the gaps have widened.
“I liked the way the team expressed themselves in attack, of course. But also when the counter had to make a team effort to recover the ball. There was a lot of effort for the one and for the other, and this effort for the teammates is something that we emphasize a lot.
“I know I have a very talented team with very talented players, but they have to play as a team, and that has to happen throughout a game and then throughout the season.”
Earlier, Monaco won 2-1 at Racing Strasbourg after the home side had a final equalizer on the blast ruled out by VAR.
Monaco, who play away in the Champions League preliminary round against PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday, took a 2-0 lead through Krepin Diatta and Sofiane Diop before Habib Diallo pulled one back in the 65th minute.
Diallo thought he had another goal, two minutes into stoppage time, when he headed home, but team-mate Alexander Djiku was ruled offside as he provided the assist and the strike was ruled out to give Monaco the win.