Paris St Germain make ominous start to Champions League campaign

 

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The Independent Online

Stars looked finally aligned as Paris St Germain's game fell into place in a perfect start to their Champions League campaign last night.

The French club, who spent over 200 million euros on transfers since being taken over by Qatari investors over a year ago, seem likely to avoid the fate of fellow big-spenders Manchester City who exited the competition in the first round last season.

Carlo Ancelotti's side ruthlessly dismissed Dynamo Kiev 4-1 for their first Champions League game in eight years, opening a 3-0 lead after 32 minutes with their recent signings delivering sterling performances.

"It's a fantastic start. It was not easy. We made our opponent look bad, but it does not mean they were bad," Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who opened the scoring from the penalty spot, told reporters.

His former AC Milan team mate Thiago Silva looked solid in central defence for his PSG debut and even scored the team's second.

Sweden striker Ibrahimovic, one of several top signings in the close season, benefited from some outstanding work from his team mates, especially fellow forwards Javier Pastore, who was hugely disappointing last season, and Jeremy Menez.

"Pastore has improved since (the previous game against) Toulouse," said Ancelotti.

"I hope he will continue like this. He played very well with Ibra and Menez."

Pastore ghosted past challenges to create chances for team mates and was rewarded with a last-gap goal that wrapped up a dream night for the Argentine.

"The key player was Menez because he opened up space for Ibrahimovic and Pastore," added Ancelotti, who had plenty other reasons to rejoice.

In the midfield, the 19-year-old Marco Verratti played with the self-confidence of a veteran, oozing class and calm throughout.

"The three midfielders were fantastic," said Ancelotti who had to make with the absence of Italy midfielder Thiago Motta because of an injury.

The Italian also has what PSG lacked last season - depth in the squad.

Ibrahimovic and Menez were replaced by Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi and Nene, last season's Ligue 1 joint top scorer, respectively with the duo immediately posing threat to the Dynamo Kiev defence.

It is now up to Ancelotti to deal with that depth and he could already make some changes in Saturday's Ligue 1 trip to promoted Bastia.

"We are happy that we have three great centre backs," he said, referring to Silva, Alex and France defender Mamadou Sakho, who missed Tuesday's game through injury.

"I hope that Mamadou will be fit on Saturday. There are a lot of matches to be played and we could start a rotation in central defence."

Reuters

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