Angel Di Mariaproduced a vintage performance with two goals to help Paris Saint-Germain claim a 3-0 home win over Real Madrid in their Champions League Group A opening game on Wednesday.
In the absence of the formidable attacking trio ofKylian Mbappe, (NeymarandEdinson Cavani, Di Maria provided two first-half goals as PSG suffocated Real throughout andThomas Meunieradded a third in stoppage time.
Real, European champions three years in a row from 2016 – 18 who eliminated PSG in the last 16 in 2017 – 18, failed to muster a shot on target and suffered their first
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PSG lead the standings on three points, ahead of Club Brugge and Galatasaray, who played out a goalless draw earlier on Wednesday.
“We lacked intensity , we never got into the game, we created very few chances, “Real coach Zinedine Zidane told a news conference.
Although PSG’s win could be seen as a statement, the French champions still have a long way to go before putting three consecutive last – 16 eliminations behind them for good including last season’s embarrassing defeat by Manchester United.
“We played at a very very high level tonight, but it’s not easy to show this in every game,” said PSG coach Thomas Tuchel.
With Neymar suspended and Mbappe and Cavani injured, ArgentineMauro Icardistarted up front after playing his first half hour for PSG in a Ligue 1 game against Strasbourg last weekend.
He had little impact, though, as Di Maria made sure his compatriot’s lack of match time went unnoticed in PSG’s first European game since a shock 3-1 home defeat by United sent them out of last season’s Champions League.
Eden Hazardstarted for Real, who also had to cope with the absence of the injuredMarcelo, Isco,Luka Modric, (Marco Asensio) and Fede Valverde as well as the suspendedSergio Ramosand Nacho Fernandez.
PSG started fast and were rewarded for their early domination in the 14 th minute when Di Maria stabbed the ball pastThibaut Courtoisat the near post fromJuan Bernat‘s cross.
It was former Real player Di Maria’s 25 th goal in his 100 th appearance in a European competition.
He made it 26 in the 33 rd minute, curling a superb shot past Courtois from 20 meters afterIdrissa Gueyehad cut through the Real midfield.
Real forwardGareth Balefound the back of the net shortly afterwards but the goal was ruled out by the VAR for handball.
PSG left little space to Real and Di Maria came close to making it 3-0, only for his chip to land on the roof of the net after the Argentine had been sent through by the impressive Gueye.
Rea l forwardKarim BenzemabeatKeylor Navasfrom close range in the 77 th minute, but the goal was ruled out for aLucas Vazquezoffside.
Full-back Meunier wrapped up an emphatic win when he scored from close range one minute into stoppage time following a PSG counter-attack.
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