Paris Saint-Germain kicked off their UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stage campaign with a win for just the second time in the last five years, seeing off Juventus in a 2-1 success at the Parc des Princes.
If an out-of-sorts Bianconeri were to salvage anything from their trip to Paris, a good start was paramount. A piece of outrageous quality between two of the hosts’ forwards threw that plan out of the window though, as Les Parisiens opened the scoring inside five minutes. Neymar played a gorgeous flicked ball in behind the defence, finding Kylian Mbappé who struck a fearsome volley into the corner beyond Mattia Perin. The 23-year-old has now scored five times inside the opening five minutes in the UCL, just one short of record-holder Lionel Messi.
Massimiliano Allegri’s men could not contain PSG’s incredible forward line and the lead was doubled soon afterwards. Incredibly quick interplay around the edge of the box between Achraf Hakimi, Messi and Mbappé allowed the French sensation to strike another fierce first-time volley into the back of the net. Remarkably, his second of the night took him to 29 in PSG colours in the UCL, just one short of Edinson Cavani’s club-record total of 30.
Christophe Galtier’s men continued their relentless assault on the Juventus goal after the interval. Neymar and Mbappé both spurned chances to extend the lead, before the Old Lady reduced the arrears, totally against the run of play. Filip Kostić’s cross from the left found half-time substitute Weston McKennie, who towered above the defence to head home.
PSG’s famous fragility was coming to the fore again, and Juve aimed to take full advantage. Juan Cuadrado’s cross was met by the head of Dušan Vlahović, forcing a fine reaction save from Gianluigi Donnarumma. The French champions ability to withstand pressure has been a huge problem in Europe in recent years, and the closing stages of this contest would be another huge test of their credentials.
Their attitude seemed to consist of attack being the best form of defence, as Mbappé went close to chasing his second hat-trick of the season. Chances dried up at both ends, as Galtier introduced Nordi Mukiele and Danilo Pereira to neutralise the contest, a ploy which worked to perfection. Just a fourth win from the last 22 meetings with Italian sides gives PSG the perfect start to their UCL campaign, while Juventus have now won just two of their last nine outings, leaving Allegri under increasing pressure.