Messi & Neymar magic as PSG rout Clermont
Lionel Messi scored a sensational bicycle-kick goal as Paris Saint-Germain began the defence of their Ligue 1 title with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Clermont at the Stade Gabriel Montpied on Saturday. Messi netted a brace to go with goals from Neymar — who also made three assists —, Achraf Hakimi and Marquinhos as they followed up last weekend’s 4-0 Trophee des Champions victory over Nantes with another easy win. It took only nine minutes for them to get in front as Messi brilliantly flicked the ball into the path of Neymar, who finished an excellent move.
Hakimi scored midway through the first half from a lightning counter-attack, before Marquinhos headed Neymar’s free-kick into the net. Neymar then provided a fourth for Messi, before the Argentine forward capped off an excellent performance with a stunning goal, chesting a pass from Leandro Paredes and providing a bicycle-kick finish. “What I have liked is the team’s desire to win the ball back very quickly, to play with a lot of intensity,” PSG coach Christophe Galtier said.
“Leo reacts reacts very quickly when possession is lost, and Ney has also made efforts in his defensive positioning to help the team stay very compact and win the ball.” Chasing a record 11th league title, PSG missed Kylian Mbappe, who is nursing a groin problem, and Renato Sanches, who was signed on Thursday and lacked match fitness. PSG left out of its matchday squad some high-profile players it reportedly wants to move out: Mauro Icardi, Julian Draxler, Ander Herrera, Idrissa Gueye, Rafinha, Thilo Kehrer and Layvin Kurzawa. Earlier, Monaco won 2-1 at Racing Strasbourg after the home side had a last-gasp equaliser ruled out by VAR.
Monaco, who play away in the Champions League preliminary round against PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday, went 2-0 up through Krepin Diatta and Sofiane Diop before Habib Diallo pulled one back in the 65th minute. Diallo thought he had another, two minutes into stoppage time, when he headed home but teammate Alexander Djiku was found to be offside as he made the assist and the strike was ruled out to hand Monaco victory.
Reus on target A first half goal by Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus was enough to carry last season’s runners-up past Bayer Leverkusen in their Bundesliga opener at home on Saturday but their winning start was overshadowed by an injury to new signing Karim Adeyemi. It was also a victorious return for Dortmund coach Edin Terzic, back on the bench after 15 months following his first stint as an interim coach in 2021.
“We did not start really well, lost possession a few times but recovered well. They were better after the break but we defend our lead well,” said Terzic, who coached for the first time in the Bundesliga in front of fans.
“Sometimes it’s not possible to score more than one and you have to protect that clean sheet instead.”
Adeyemi’s injury that eventually forced him off in the 23rd minute was the latest to a new signing, as Dortmund are already without defender Niklas Suele, nursing a thigh injury, and forward Sebastien Haller, out for months following the discovery of a malignant testicular tumour.