• Mbappe notches debut strike as PSG beats Metz

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    PARIS: Kylian Mbappe scored on his debut as Paris Saint-Germain eased to a 5-1 away thumping of 10-man Metz in Ligue 1 on Friday (Saturday in Manila).

    Neymar’s pin-point through ball created the opening goal for Edinson Cavani in the 31st minute, only for Emmanuel Riviere to head in an equaliser before half-time.

    But the game was all but ended in the space of three second-half minutes, as Benoit Assou-Ekotto saw red for a lunge on Mbappe, before the youngster netted his debut strike.

    PSG ran riot late on, with Neymar getting himself onto the scoresheet, Cavani stabbing in his second and Lucas Moura grabbing the fifth.

    Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe (left) vies for the ball against Metz’s Spanish defender Ivan Balliu during the French L1 football match between Metz (FCM) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on Saturday at the Saint-Symphorien stadium in Longeville-les-Metz, northeastern France. AFP PHOTO

    The victory is PSG’s fifth in a row to start the Ligue 1 season, and takes them three points clear at the top of the fledgling table, ahead of champions Monaco, who play Nice on Saturday.

    “It’s important for me to have good balance on the pitch,” said PSG coach Unai Emery.

    “I think that the good players like to play with good players, and Kylian (Mbappe) made a good start.”

    PSG can now turn their attentions to the start of the Champions League group stages on Tuesday when they take on Celtic in Glasgow.

    Mbappe was handed a starting spot on his debut after joining from Monaco on a season-long loan, with an option to buy for a fee that could reach 180 million euros ($216.5m).

    “A win, a goal and a good game, I have everything to make me satisfied,” said Mbappe.

    “Now we go to Glasgow to win and to make a good start (in Europe). I’ve always said that the Champions League is a special competition.”

    Neymar’s class
    The away side took the lead thanks to a moment of class from world-record signing Neymar.

    The Brazilian threaded through a perfect pass with the outside of his foot for Mbappe and Cavani to run onto, with the latter rounding Metz goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima and slotting in his sixth league goal of the season.

    Mbappe, 18, continued to show his unselfish side with a wonderful cross for an unmarked Cavani, who was denied by a fantastic Kawashima save.

    Metz delivered a sucker-punch eight minutes before the interval, as Mathieu Dossevi’s determination down the right-hand side created space for a cross that gave Riviere the simplest of tasks to nod in.

    It was the former Monaco striker’s first Metz goal since ending his torrid spell at Newcastle United in the close season.

    Paris were desperately lucky not to fall behind soon after the restart, as PSG keeper Alphonse Areola’s dreadful blunder handed Riviere a golden opportunity, but he somehow contrived to scoop it over the bar.

    The capital-city giants were struggling early in the second half, until Assou-Ekotto’s sending off changed the game.

    The Cameroonian left-back was shown a straight red card for a strong tackle on Mbappe, despite taking the ball before making contact with the player.

    Unperturbed, Mbappe picked himself up and duly put PSG back in front with his first goal of the campaign.

    His lofted pass was only half-cleared back to the world’s second-most expensive player, and he rifled home a clinical volley from the edge of the area.

    Neymar followed suit, as he collected the ball unchallenged outside the box and casually curled into the far corner of Kawashima’s net.

    And Cavani prodded in a trademark effort from close range to complete a brace with 15 minutes to play, before a ricochet gave substitute Lucas a goal on his first appearance of the season.

    Elsewhere on Friday, Marcelo Bielsa’s Lille were reduced to 10 men and held to a 0-0 draw at home by unbeaten Bordeaux.

    AFP

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