Week 2 review: Neymar takes Paris top, Falcao fires
By S. Willis
Ligue 1 Conforama's star power was on full display as Neymar Jr bagged an assist and a goal on debut to help PSG to equal top spot, while Radamel Falcao hit the season's first hat-trick to race to the top of the scorers chart.
There was no shortage of attention on the tiny Brittany city of Guingamp on Sunday night as the world's most expensive player, Neymar Jr, made his Paris Saint-Germain debut. And the Brazilian gave a glimpse of his skills - and mettle - as he shrugged off the pressure of his €222m price tag to exchange assists and goals with Edinson Cavani in a dominant 3-0 win for the capital club.
Neymar Jr: 'I feel more alive than ever'
"I'm very happy with this first win in my first match. I felt very comfortable with my new teammates. I'm also very happy to have scored; it's very important that I mark my territory right from the start," sad the man of the hour, who showed no signs of rust as he completed a game-high 103 passes in an unstinting bid to move Paris forward to score. "I'm ok with the situation surrounding my transfer. I don't feel any particular pressure. People think that leaving Barcelona means the end of everything, but no, to the contrary, I feel more alive than ever. The country, the city and the team can change, but football remains the same."
It took Paris Saint-Germain some time - and a stroke of good fortune - to make the break, thanks to PSG youth academy graduate Jordan Ikoko's own-goal (52'), but then Neymar threaded the needle to play Cavani in for his second of the season (62') before the Uruguayan returned the favour to put the result beyond doubt (82').
El Tigre in ferocious form
The result took Paris equal-top, leapfrogging reigning champions Monaco on goal difference despite the principality club's no less spectacular demolition of Dijon earlier on Sunday. The Colombian showed opportunism (3'), long-range skill (37') and aerial prowess (51') to hit the season's first hat-trick and rocket to the top of the scorers chart while Brazil defender Jemerson contributed a stunning bicycle-kick strike for Monaco's second (25'). Wesley Saïd's expertly taken reply was a mere consolation for Olivier Dall'Oglio's side.
"We had a good match and were effective from dead balls. We worked hard to control the game. They players showed their quality and I can only praise them. As for Falcao, he's a great striker. That's important for his confidence, and also for the confidence of the team," said coach Leonardo Jardim, whose side still boast a perfect record despite the benching of teenage superstar Kylian Mbappé, reportedly keen for a move to rivals PSG. "Mbappé? Sometimes in order to improve a player you need to give them a carrot, at others times the stick."
Olympiques on song
Meanwhile Olympique Lyonnais weren't about to be outdone by last season's top two sides, maintaining their perfect start to the season - and their top spot on the Ligue 1 Conforama table - with a 2-1 win in Rennes that saw new striker Mariano Diaz bullet-header his third in two matches (74') to build on Memphis Depay's opener and render Benjamin Bourigeaud's superb late free-kick anodyne (86').
So too Olympique de Marseille made it two wins from two matches, Lucas Ocampos coming off the bench to score a late winner and hand Claudio Ranieri's Canaris a second loss on the bounce, 1-0. OM now sit in fourth, level on goal difference with AS Monaco (+4) while Saint-Etienne, the league's only remaining side with a perfect record so far, sit just below them in fifth after a 1-0 win in Caen that came courtesy of Romain Hamouma - an SM Caen alumnus (67').
Bordeaux, Angers build
Girondins de Bordeaux built on their opening-day draw with a 2-0 win at home to FC Metz, Valentin Vada and Younousse Sankharé doing the damage, and climbed to sixth, while Angers did similarly but away from home, Thomas Mangani starring with a wonderful long-range goal - his first ever with his right boot (56') - and an assist for Enzo Crivelli (27') to hand Amiens a first home defeat in their first-ever top-flight campaign.
Not so Nice
Amiens' fellow promotes ESTAC Troyes fared better, climbing to eighth with a shock 2-1 win in Nice that leaves Les Aiglons - who introduced star signing Wesley Sneijder to the Allianz Riviera fans before the match - on zero points in 15th place. Toulouse followed up on last week's valiant defeat to Monaco with a 1-0 home win over area rivals Montpellier - their first league win since April - thanks to Sweden star Jimmy Durmaz's penalty (43').
RC Strasbourg Alsace got their first win over the Ligue 1 Conforama campaign 3-0 in dramatic fashion at home to LOSC, whose coach Marcelo Bielsa was forced to play striker Nicolas de Préville and then club captain Ibrahim Amadaou in goals following 'keeper Mike Maignan's sending off (63') after all three substitutions had been made. The promoted side took full advantage, scoring three times in 14 minutes - including a long-range missile from home-grown midfielder Jérémy Grimm (88') - to climb to 13th.