Competitive football is back and Paris Saint Germain took an early psychological advantage over domestic rivals AS Monaco in Morocco as they over came a half time deficit to win 2-1, recording a record seventh Trophée des Champions success in the process.
Talk of Neymar’s training ground bust up and a possible world record deal looking more promising overshadowed the clash between France’s top two teams but it was another Brazilian who stole the headlines on the pitch. New recruit Dani Alves made sure he added another winners medal in his lustrous cabinet in style as he marked his competitive debut with a brilliant 30 yard free kick soon after half time and set up Adrien Rabiot beautifully for the winner. His man of the match performance was possibly even more impressive considering Unai Emery’s bold move to put Alves up top along side Edinson Cavani and Javier Pastore; a move that certainty paid off and immediately silenced any critics.
It wasn’t plain sailing the whole way through for Les Parisiens, however. Monaco right back Djibril Sidibé put the reigning French champions ahead going into half time with a precise lob over Alfonse Areola in goal for PSG. The French keeper was forced to make a fine stop late on and Rabiot was fortunate to get away with a late handball in the penalty area too. By the end of the 90 minutes it was a game of two halves and Emery – along with the Paris supporters – will be pleased with teams response in the second half.
Outshone by Dani Alves, Adrien Rabiot’s performance really caught the eye. His midfield display in a disappointing first half was very accomplished – and with glimpses of his full potential last season – I fully expect this to be the 22 year-old’s breakthrough season in the capital.
Pre-season preparation in general has been a bit underwhelming. The tour of America in the International Champions Cup didn’t produce any fireworks. A 1-1 draw with Roma – in which Emery’s men won on penalties – was the highlight before falling short to both Tottenham and Juventus. Yesterday’s performance was satisfying, and if Neymar were to join between now and August 31, the signs will be looking encouraging in the French capital as they look for further revenge on Monaco throughout the 2017/18 season.
Check out the best pictures from PSG’s 2-1 victory over Monaco…