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Neymar bags brace as PSG hit six

Paris (AFP) – Neymar scored twice for Paris Saint-Germain in a crushing 6-1 win over Angers on Friday as the French champions continue to build up momentum following a poor start to the Ligue 1 season.

Alessandro Florenzi, Julian Draxler, Idrissa Gana Gueye and Kylian Mbappe were also on target at the Parc des Princes for PSG, who claimed their fourth consecutive victory after starting the campaign with two straight defeats.

Thomas Tuchel’s side move up to second in the early table, a point behind leaders Rennes who play Reims on Sunday.

“Scoring goals gives us confidence. It is a great victory,” said Tuchel.

There were only 1,000 spectators allowed into the Parc des Princes as authorities clamp down on gatherings amid a new rise in coronavirus cases in the French capital, but the few who were there saw Florenzi open the scoring with a lovely goal in the seventh minute.

The Italian right-back, who remains PSG’s only new face for this season so far after joining on loan from Roma, controlled the ball in the box before netting with a delightful volley into the far corner.

Mbappe then cut the ball back for Neymar to score in off the underside of the bar as PSG doubled their lead before half-time.

Neymar was starting after avoiding punishment following allegations of racist and homophobic abuse in an ill-tempered defeat by Marseille last month.

The French league’s disciplinary committee ruled on Wednesday that it did not have sufficient proof to take action against the Brazilian or Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez, who Neymar had accused of calling him a “monkey”.

The world’s most expensive player scored his second and PSG’s third goal on the night just after half-time, finishing first-time as the ball broke to him in the box.

The goals were his first two of the new season after a start to the campaign disrupted by a positive Covid-19 test and suspension.

Ismael Traore soon pulled one back for Angers with a back-post header, but Mitchel Bakker crossed for Draxler to make it 4-1 and Gueye added another with a deflected strike.

Mbappe completed the scoring by converting from a Pablo Sarabia assist six minutes from the end, and PSG look to have definitively put their defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in August behind them.

Coach Tuchel will now hope to see more new faces arrive before Monday’s transfer deadline, with a busy schedule lying in store once the Champions League group stage begins later in October.

Paris will start their continental campaign at home to Manchester United on October 20 before also facing Istanbul Basaksehir and RB Leipzig, who they beat in last season’s semi-finals.

“It is a very difficult group with Leipzig as the third seed,” said Tuchel.

“We know how strong they are. We will need to be at our best to go through.”

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