Paris St Germain’s star-studded attack brushed off the absence of Neymar as Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and substitute Angel Di Maria all got on the scoresheet in a comfortable 3-0 home win over Nimes in their Ligue 1 opener on Sunday.
PSG were awarded a penalty courtesy of VAR when referee Clement Turpin reviewed footage of a corner and deemed Nimes defender Pablo Martinez had handled the ball.
The Nimes players and coaches protested because play was allowed to continue for more than a minute before the referee looked at the incident, but their complaints were to no avail and Cavani slammed home the spot kick in the 24th minute.
Mbappe doubled the advantage 11 minutes into the second half, thumping a first-time shot into the top left corner, and Argentine winger Di Maria fired home a sweet left-foot strike in the 69th minute to complete the rout.
PSG sit level with Lyon, who beat Monaco 3-0 on Friday, at the top of the fledgling table, and will be hoping to occupy that position for the rest of the season.
Thomas Tuchel handed Ligue 1 debuts to centre-back Abdou Diallo, signed from Borussia Dortmund in the close-season, and midfielder Pablo Sarabia, who joined from Sevilla.
The champions monopolised the ball from the off, with Mbappe shooting straight at visiting goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni after jinking through the massed Nimes defence.
They were awarded a penalty by VAR midway through the first half, as a corner struck Nimes defender Pablo Martinez on the arm after Diallo ducked under the ball while standing right in front of him.
Cavani slammed the spot-kick into the net, before Nimes coach Bernard Blaquart was booked for his protestations.
A pedestrian affair, with Nimes happy to almost exclusively keep all 11 men behind the ball, had to wait until the 57th minute for a second goal when Mbappe slotted in to open his league account for the campaign.
Di Maria came off the bench and drilled into the bottom corner after an excellent pass from Mbappe with 20 minutes remaining, and PSG played out the most comfortable of wins — finishing with 74 percent of possession as goalkeeper Alphonse Areola did not face a shot on target.
Earlier on Sunday, new signing Victor Osimhen marked his Ligue 1 debut with two goals as last year’s runners-up Lille kicked off their new campaign with a 2-1 victory over Nantes.
Christophe Galtier’s hosts, who finished 16 points behind PSG last term, were indebted to Nigerian Osimhen, who scored a fabulous 80th-minute winner at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
“When I have opportunities, I don’t want to miss them,” said the 20-year-old. “I’m not yet 100% but I’m training hard and I know that with time I’ll be in top shape physically.”
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