TANGIERS, Morocco: New Brazilian recruit Dani Alves powered Paris Saint-Germain to their first title of the season beating Monaco 2-1 in the Champions Trophy final on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
It was a fifth straight trophy for the Parisians in the traditional curtain-raiser to the French season to put them level with Lyon’s record of seven titles.
The match was touted as a revenge mission for both sides with PSG losing their Ligue 1 title to Monaco, with the Principality side crushed 4-1 by the Parisians in the League Cup final.
Against a backdrop of intense transfer speculation linking Brazilian superstar Neymar from Barcelona to PSG and Monaco’s French teen striker Kylian Mbappe to a world record move to Real Madrid, the match was played on front of a capacity 45,000 crowd in Tangiers.
Every move of 18-year-old Mbappe drove the Monaco game forward to the excitement of the crowd with the loudspeaker even attributing Djibril Sidibe’s 30 minute opener to the teenager.
But it was Alves who stole the show as he equalised with a free kick after 51 minutes and then set up a decisive pass for Adrien Rabiot’s 63rd-minute winner.
Alves was unveiled as the club’s second signing of the close season after joining PSG in a two-year deal on a free transfer following his exit from Juventus.
Mbappé may still be a Monaco player but the departure of players such as Bernardo Silva, Tiémoué Bakayoko, Benjamin Mendy and Valère Germain has weakened the side.
“Theoretically we’re more fragile but I believe the youth that is coming into the club now will help us,” said coach Leonardo Jardim.
And it was Youri Tielemans, who joined from Anderlect in May, who set up Sidibé’s opener, and new left-wing Terence Kongolo did good defensive work faced with the tandem of Thomas Meunier and Dani Alves, before being overpowered by the PSG pair.
The sides will next meet in Ligue 1 in Monaco’s Louis-II stadium on November 26.
The French season kicks off next weekend with Monaco hosting Toulouse on Friday and PSG at home against Amiens.