PSG romp past Salzburg
By S. Willis
Paris Saint-Germain produced a classy attacking display to beat Red Bull Salzburg 3-1. Nene, Mathieu Bodmer and Jérémy Ménez all scored to hand their side the perfect Europa League start.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
UEFA Europa League group stage, Matchday 1
Paris Saint-Germain - Red Bull Salzburg
Antoine Kombouaré's multi-million-Euro squad was built with a view to being competitive on several fronts, and if their glittering 3-0 win over Salzburg at the Parc des Princes on Thursday night is anything to go by, then sporting director Leonardo has definitely done his job well thus far.
Perfection from Bodmer
Nene opened the scoring for the attack-minded home side, firing home from the spot after the mercurial Jérémy Ménez had been dragged down in the area (35', pen) before Mevlut Erding, handed a rare start by Kombouaré, crossed for stand-in skipper Mathieu Bodmer to spectacularly volley a technically perfect shot into the back of the net while charging at full pace into the area (44').
While Erding couldn't manage to find the net himself, it was clear the Turkey international had no lack of understanding with star midfield trio of Ménez, Javier Pastore and Nene, linking well in team moves and going close on several occasions before being taken off in favour of Kévin France hitman Gameiro. Ménez nabbed PSG's third with a piece of inspired opportunism, intercepting a pass across Salzburg's backline to race into the box and blast past Edward Gustafsson to get the goal his thoughtful and incisive play deserved (67').
However, Pastore was the star of the show, the Argentine's almost casual confidence on the ball belying his astute footballing mind and seemingly unlimited array of passes, but the former Palermo midfielder spurned a golden opportunity to get his name on the scoresheet, dummying around the onrushing Gustafsson in a crowded area before inexplicably blazing over from three metres out (90'+3).
Ugandan defender Ibrahim Sekagya bagged a consolation as Salzburg pushed in the later stages, heading home a free kick (87') that was the only blot on a strong performance from second-choice 'keeper Nicolas Douchez in just his second start of the season.
The win sends PSG top of Group F, ahead of second-placed Athletic Bilbao - PSG's next opponents, who beat Slovan Bratislava 2-1 - on goal difference.