Friday 16 November, 2018

PSG 4 Monaco 0: Di Maria double sees Tuchel start with silverware

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel.

Thomas Tuchel secured his first piece of silverware in charge of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) as Angel Di Maria's double helped set an ominous tone for the new season with a 4-0 win over Monaco in the Trophee des Champions.

Di Maria scored once either side of half-time, while Neymar made a 15-minute cameo as the Ligue 1 champions prevailed in the traditional curtain-raiser, played in China, for the sixth successive season.

The result also provided a competitive debut victory, a clean sheet and a valuable confidence boost for Gianluigi Buffon, who endured back-to-back defeats in two International Champions Cup appearances last month.

The Italy icon was rarely worked, with his new boss Tuchel afforded the luxury of introducing Neymar for his first PSG appearance since fracturing a metatarsal in February with a three-goal lead already established.

Di Maria enjoyed the role of star man in a one-sided first half, netting a superb free-kick in the 33rd minute to open a lead that Christopher Nkunku doubled seven minutes later.

The first of what Tuchel will hope is at least a repeat of the quartet of trophies Unai Emery achieved last term was sealed by Timothy Weah in the 67th minute, before Di Maria added stoppage-time gloss ahead of next Sunday's visit from Caen.

While Neymar returned via the bench, Brazil team-mate Thiago Silva was included from the outset and deflected a Youri Tielemans shot wide in the 13th minute.

Diego Benaglio, standing in for Danijel Subasic, soon produced a vital block of his own to deny Di Maria at close range, before the increasingly besieged partnership of Kamil Glik and Jemerson combined for a pair of interceptions.

There was little either defender could do about the opener, though, as Di Maria made full use of a free-kick in a central area, stroking it over the wall and beyond Benaglio from 25 yards.

Monaco should have been level two minutes later when Samuel Grandsir escaped into space on the right, but his low cross to the near post was bundled wide by Rony Lopes.

And they were made to pay for the miss five minutes from half-time, as the overlapping Stanley N'Soki got in behind and squared for Nkunku to tap home PSG's second.

Stevan Jovetic drew a comfortable first save from Buffon within two minutes of the restart, although hopes of a Monaco fightback dissipated as Tuchel's men reasserted their dominance.

Adrien Rabiot curled a cross just beyond Weah's reach and Di Maria sliced the wrong side of the left post without a tangible response.

There were consequently few surprises when 18-year-old Weah, whose Ballon d'Or-winning father George won Ligue 1 with PSG in 1994, got on the end of a clever N'Soki cutback in the 67th minute.

There was still time for Di Maria to strike a further blow ahead of the start of the Ligue 1 campaign, the Argentina international finishing off a Rabiot pass on the counter-attack in the 92nd minute to leave Monaco on a dispiriting low ahead of their trip to Nantes next weekend.