Why the PSG players have been given a ‘golden ticket’
The PSG team is enjoying an unprecedented start to the new season with a convincing 3-1 win over Barcelona at the Stade de France.
After an early barrage from the Catalan giants, Alexis Sanchez had a hat-trick and Didier Drogba was outstanding as France edged a game-high 11-point lead.
However, the result could have been much worse for Lionel Messi, who was suspended for the first time in his career for biting the hands of a rival after the game.
Messi was then substituted for his compatriot Neymar, who came on as a late substitute.
The Argentinian forward was replaced by Christian Benteke, who scored his first goal for his country in the game and is now the team’s all-time leading scorer.
Drogba, the world’s best-paid player at €200 million (£168m) after signing for the Blues in 2014, made his first start of the season with eight minutes remaining but was subbed at half-time as the hosts continued to dominate.
The game had been delayed for nearly 20 minutes when a player from the pitch became unwell and had to be taken to hospital, but the France captain was in good spirits when he took to the pitch and was on the bench for the rest of the second half.
After the game, the players were given golden tickets to the Stadio Olimpico to celebrate their first win in France in 20 years.
“It was a fantastic game, a great win and the most important one in the history of France,” said Paris Saint-Germain boss Laurent Blanc.
“The team’s performance and quality was absolutely outstanding.
This was the first victory for us since the last World Cup.”
France’s other three goals came in the first half, with the most significant coming in the 58th minute.
Leo Messi had a goal ruled out for offside after he hit Jordi Alba with a right-footed drive that left the French striker stranded in the box.
He then had an effort cleared off the line by referee Laurent Durand, and Alba made amends with a superb one-handed save to deny Messi.
The Barcelona midfielder scored his 11th goal in all competitions for PSG and his 20th of the campaign.
Neymar was then called into action as a substitute and scored the only goal in the second minute as France were awarded a penalty that led to Neymar taking down Alba and then making a superb reflex save to keep the ball out of the net.
The hosts had to settle for a point after a goal from Barcelona, but that was quickly reversed after a foul on Alba.
The match was marred by several late incidents in the early stages, with several of PSG’s players appearing to take aim at referee Durand in the penalty area.
The Barcelona captain, Neymar was later seen to be making an aggressive gesture towards the official.PSG then took the lead after just eight minutes.
Neymar had a shot saved by Durand and then a header from a corner was parried by Alba to send a rocket past Durand.
Barcelona then had the better of the opening stages of the game as they were level just five minutes after the restart.
Alba, who had been booked for his involvement in a melee with players, appeared to make contact with Jordi Azpilicueta when the Barcelona midfielder’s back was turned, but he could not hold the ball up to stop the rebound from going into the net from Alba’s corner.PSM took the next two points in a thrilling encounter.