Neymar celebrated his Paris Saint-Germain debut in style with a goal and an assist for Edinson Cavani in a 3-0 win over Guingamp.
Having taken a watching brief for PSG’s opening-day win over Amiens last weekend, Neymar made his Ligue 1 bow at the Stade de Roudourou on Sunday after his world-record €222million transfer from Barcelona was ratified by the French Football Federation in the week.
The Brazil star took his place on the left-hand side of a front three alongside Cavani and Angel Di Maria and looked lively throughout against opponents who were happy to sit deep and defend in numbers until PSG found a breakthrough thanks to Jordan Ikoko’s bizarre own goal.
Right-back Ikoko, a PSG academy graduate, had been the focus of unfamiliar attention in the build-up as the most likely man to directly oppose Neymar but his downfall early in the second period was all of his own making as his mis-directed pass back towards goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson was too strong and crept in via the upright.
Not to be upstaged, Neymar had a more direct influence on PSG’s second as his delightful throughball released Cavani to coolly beat Johnsson.
And the most expensive footballer on the planet was not done there as he tapped home into an empty net with eight minutes remaining following good work from Cavani.
Inevitably all eyes were on the Brazilian, whose first contribution was to loft an ambitious pass from deep towards the run of Di Maria which proved just too heavy.
Neymar helped carve out the first real chance in the 15th minute, combining neatly with Thiago Motta to free Cavani but Johnsson saved with his legs to deny the Uruguayan.
The first notice of Neymar’s threat was served five minutes later as he jinked inside on his right foot before blasting over from 20 yards, and he almost created the opener as his teasing cross was thumped against the angle of post and crossbar by an unmarked Marquinhos.
Cavani stung the palms of Johnsson with a free-kick as PSG continued to dominate before Neymar had half-hearted appeals for a penalty waved away as he went down under minimal contact from Etienne Didot.
It was Didot who fired narrowly off-target early in the second period to remind PSG this was not a one-man show, but the hapless Ikoko soon grabbed the spotlight in farcical circumstances.
Neymar’s throughball was cut out and ran to Ikoko but his pass back to Johnsson was heavy and wide of the goalkeeper, who had to stretch with his foot and could not prevent the ball rolling in off the left-hand post.
Cavani wasted two presentable opportunities to double PSG’s lead soon afterwards but he did not have to wait long to score his second goal in as many league outings this season as he ran onto Neymar’s sumptuous pass and slotted beyond Johnsson.
Another excellent pass from the ex-Barca man deserved better than Di Maria’s weak finish straight at the keeper as PSG looked to kill the game off – a feat they duly managed as Cavani returned the favour, teeing up Neymar for a simple finish from six yards to cap a wholly satisfactory debut in fitting fashion.
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