PARIS. — Paris Saint-Germain launched their latest quest for Champions League football success with a statement win over Real Madrid on Wednesday night, while a late Atletico Madrid comeback foiled Juventus as Manchester City eased to victory in Ukraine.
French giants PSG have failed to make their mark in Europe, crashing out of the Champions League in the last 16 each of the past three years despite the huge sums of money spent by their Qatari owners.
With Neymar suspended and Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani sidelined by injury, Angel Di Maria stepped up in their absence by grabbing two first-half goals in a 3-0 triumph at the Parc des Princes.
Thomas Meunier added the third late on as Madrid, who beat PSG on the way to lifting the trophy in 2016 and 2018, were soundly beaten in their Group A opener with Eden Hazard kept quiet on his full debut.
“There’s no message sent, but we dominated this game very well,” PSG captain Thiago Silva told RMC Sport.
“We have to play like this all the time, in the league as well, with character and hunger.” Real, the 13-time European champions, are still favourites to advance from a section that includes Club Brugge and Galatasaray, who drew 0-0 in Belgium, but the nature of the loss underscored the work that lies ahead for coach Zinedine Zidane.
“They were superior to us in everything they did, and in intensity, which annoys me the most,” said the Frenchman.
Diego Simeone’s Atletico clawed their way back from two goals down in the final 20 minutes to rescue a 2-2 draw at home to Juventus in Group D.
The anticipated clash between Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Felix, the teenager touted as the heir to Ronaldo’s throne, took a back seat to a Atletico rousing comeback after second-half goals from Juan Cuadrado and Blaise Matuidi put Juve in control. — AFP.