KLAGENFURT, Austria: New signing Hatem Ben Arfa was among the scorers as Paris Saint-Germain romped to a one-sided 4-1 win over Lyon in the Champions Trophy, the traditional French season-opener, on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Javier Pastore, Lucas Moura and Layvin Kurzawa got the other goals before Corentin Tolisso grabbed a consolation as the French champions won the trophy for the fourth year running and gave new coach Unai Emery some early silverware.
What Spaniard Emery, who arrived in Paris fresh from winning three consecutive Europa League titles with Sevilla, will make of this early success remains to be seen, however.
Lyon, last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up who also lost to PSG in the Champions Trophy 12 months ago, did not turn up for the first hour at least and the match was played out in a surreal atmosphere in a largely empty stadium in Klagenfurt.
“It was a good result for us but there us still a lot of tactical work to do and Ligue 1 will be difficult,” said Emery, whose side begin their title defence away at Bastia next Friday.
“We need to continue this next week in the league. This is important for our confidence but it is still sort of pre-season. Not all the players are fully fit yet.”
The French league have used this game to promote their competition in recent seasons, staging it in Canada, the United States, China and in Africa.
In Austria, the occasion could hardly have been met with greater indifference by the locals and vast swathes of the 32,000-seat Woerthersee Stadion remained empty.
The departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic after four glorious seasons in Paris has taken some of the star quality away from the champions but they began a new era by racing into a three-goal interval lead.
Pastore superbly converted a Kurzawa cross for the opener and the Argentine then squared for Lucas to bundle in the second under pressure from Jeremy Morel.
Angel Di Maria hit the bar with a delightful chip before setting up Ben Arfa, the former Lyon player taking a touch and lashing in his first goal since signing from Nice.
Ben Arfa was the only new face in the starting line-up named by Emery, himself a new arrival after the sacking of Laurent Blanc.
Pastore set up Kurzawa for the fourth goal nine minutes into the second half with the Lyon defence all at sea and at that point it looked like PSG could go on to thoroughly embarrass their rivals.
But goalkeeper Kevin Trapp was finally forced into a save from Maxwel Cornet just before the hour and midfielder Tolisso grabbed a consolation goal with three minutes remaining when he headed home a Christophe Jallet cross.
Lyon kick off their campaign away at promoted Nancy next Sunday and may have to do without star striker Alexandre Lacazette after he came off injured at half-time.
“He felt a pain in his left thigh and couldn’t continue. We didn’t take any risks,” said Lyon coach Bruno Genesio.
“I am worried about his injury because he is the leader of our attack. If we had to do without him for a long time it would be a huge handicap for us.”