PSG 7-1 Celtic: Champions League Ė as it happened

Scott Murray on 22 November 2017

FULL TIME: Paris Saint-Germain 7-1 Celtic

A wonderful opening 57 seconds for Celtic. The other 89 minutes and three seconds ... not so much. Celtic were poor defensively tonight, with many a mistake littering their performance. But then again, theyíre playing the favourites for this yearís Champions League, a team who have tonight broken the record for goals scored in the group stage. Neymar, Mbappe, Cavani ... they were sensational tonight. What can you do?

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90 min: Pastore and Di Maria combine down the inside right. The latter forces the ball through for the former, who spins to snap a shot goalwards from a tight angle. Itís blocked easily enough. Another 120 seconds and this is all over for Celtic.

89 min: For the first time tonight, the clock is Celticís friend. PSG are stroking it around in the middle of the park, just waiting for their shift to end.

87 min: Forrest goes on a George Best ramble, right to left, across the face of the PSG box. He has a shot but itís blocked the second it leaves his boot. Itís not much, but itís something.

85 min: Neymar seriously threatens to break clear into the Celtic box down the left. Bitton does very well indeed to hold him up.

83 min: Some snappy tackling from Brown in the middle of the park, and Celtic are sent scampering upfield. Rogic has a dig from the edge of the box. Itís deflected out for a corner on the right. Griffiths takes; Areloa plucks from the sky and sends PSG on the attack. Di Maria has a look at goal from the best part of 35 yards. Nope!

82 min: Celtic have imploded. It should be eight, as Cavani and Neymar make good down the inside left. The ball breaks to Lo Celso on the edge of the box. He fires low and hard towards the bottom right. Gordon does extremely well to tip the ball round the post for a corner.

GOAL! PSG 7-1 Celtic (Dani Alves 80)

Aye, a rout all right. Cavani nearly works space to shoot amid a penalty box melee. No matter. The ball isnít cleared. Dani Alves picks up possession 20 yards out on the right. A short backlift, and then he sends a rising heatseeker into the top left.

Dani Alves celebrates after scoring.
Dani Alves celebrates after scoring. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

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GOAL! PSG 6-1 Celtic (Cavani 79)

What a belter this is! Kurzawa romps into acres down the left. He loops a cross towards the far post. Cavani meets the dropping ball with a volley that rasps across Gordon, off the left-hand post, and into the net. This is now a rout.

Edinson Cavani of PSG scores his sides sixth goal.
Edinson Cavani of PSG scores his sides sixth goal. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

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77 min: Itís fair to say that goal had been coming, albeit at testimonial pace. Itís met with a series of changes: PSG send on Angel Di Maria and Giovani Lo Celso, allowing Mbappe and Verratti to exit on a high; Celtic swap Dembele for Leigh Griffiths.

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GOAL! PSG 5-1 Celtic (Verratti 75)

Mbappe tears past Tierney down the right. He reaches the byline and pulls the ball back. Brown and Boyata get in each otherís way on the penalty spot, and tee it up for Verratti, who threads a low diagonal shot into the bottom left.

Marco Verratti of PSG (6) as he puts his side 5-1 ahead.
Marco Verratti of PSG (6) as he puts his side 5-1 ahead. Photograph: Dave Winter/Icon Sport via Getty Images

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73 min: Neymar has woken up all right. He turns on the jets to burst down the left, and enters the area. No space to shoot, so he squares for Mbappe, who takes a touch on the penalty spot and shoots. But he doesnít get enough purchase on the ball, and the danger is gone.

72 min: Bedlam in the Celtic box. From a thicket of players, Neymar tries to dribble his way out, left to right, and fashion a chance for his hat-trick goal. But Forrest and Tierney combine to close him down, and the ball is cleared.

71 min: See 68 min.

69 min: Celtic make their second change of the night. Ntcham is replaced by Kouassi Eboue.

68 min: PSG probe and pass, pass and probe. Celtic are doing an awful lot of chasing down. They canít get out of their final third, but at least theyíre not giving up chances right now.

66 min: Draxler is replaced by PSGís former No10, Javier Pastore.

65 min: Rabiot burns past Brown in the midfield, as though the Celtic captain wasnít there. He rolls a pass down the right for Mbappe, who looks to tee up Neymar in the middle with a low cross. But thereís too much juice on the pass, and Neymar isnít able to meet it and shoot. He hustles and earns a corner, but nothing comes of that.

63 min: Anderlecht have equalised against Bayern Munich. In terms of the race for third place, Celtic are still in the box seat going into the last round of matches. But PSG are now poised to win the group tonight.

61 min: Celtic faff around at the back. Gordon kicks out, straight at the nearby Dani Alves. The ball breaks to Cavani, on the right-hand edge of the six-yard box. Cavani blasts over, when he really should score, albeit from a tight angle.

60 min: Paris pen Celtic back in their own area, and eventually earn a corner on the right. Neymar takes. Marquinhos heads harmlessly over the bar.

58 min: Mbappe has a belt from the edge of the box. It squirts wide left. Rabiot surges down the left and nearly bursts clear into the box. Boyata makes a meal of clearing. Then some more poor defending from the increasingly poor Boyata, allowing Cavani to lash a dipper just over the bar from distance.

56 min: Brown, out on the right, curls a delightful ball in from the right. Dembele takes up possession, drops a shoulder to get some space by Dani Alves, then slams a shot into the side netting. Could have done better with the shot, but full marks for making space and time in the first place.

55 min: Rabiot slips a pass down the left wing to spring Neymar. But thereís a little too much pace on the ball, and though Neymar keeps the ball in play, just, he can only stop it on the byline and watch in horror as Boyata makes off with it. Celtic nearly undone again.

53 min: A little more space for Tierney down the left. If heíd looked up, heíd have spotted Dembele off the shoulder of Marquinhos and begging for a through ball down the channel. But the young Celtic wing back didnít look up.

52 min: Bayern Munich have taken the lead at Anderlecht, incidentally. Thatís good news for Celtic, in their quest to stay ahead of the Belgians in the race for third spot in Group B and a place in the Europa League.

50 min: And now Forrest has a gambol down the right. He manages to work just enough space to shoot, just inside the box, though his effort is blocked pretty much at source.

49 min: Space for Tierney down the Celtic left. He curls a dangerous ball into the centre, where Dembele lurks, but Marquinhos slides in to hook clear.

47 min: Neymar sprays a ball down the inside-left channel. Boyata should cover, but is easily pushed off the ball by Kurzawa. The PSG left back is one on one with Gordon, but he loses control of his feet, and then the ball. Boyata and Gordon take the opportunity to clear up. That was awful defending by Boyata, who has been very unconvincing tonight.

46 min: Dembele stands on the toes of Verratti, who goes down and rolls around in pain for a bit. Heís up again after a brief pause in play. The second half starts again.

Here we go, then, the second half! Celtic get the ball rolling for a half of damage limitation. There have been no half-time changes.

Half-time listening:

HALF TIME: Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 Celtic

What a sensational first 57 seconds for Celtic. What a sensational front three PSG possess.

45 min +1: In the first of two added minutes, Dembele dribbles into the PSG box down the right. He goes over and claims a penalty kick. Heís not getting it. Then Neymar goes off down the left, and is hauled back by Bitton, who is booked. Free kick that comes to nothing.

44 min: Some Parisian noodling in the midfield. Celtic wonít mind this.

42 min: From the corner, assorted scrambles take place in the Celtic box. Neymar chips down the inside-left channel to send Thiago Silva free. The offside flag goes up. Celtic breathe again.

41 min: Full time canít come soon enough, the way things are going. Neymar, deep on the left, caresses a delicious diagonal looping pass towards Mbappe, racing down the channel on the right. Mbappe enters the area and blooters goalwards. Gordon does exceptionally well to palm the ball round the post.

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40 min: Boyata, in attempting to clear a bouncing ball, takes a swing and a fresh-air shot. He gets away with it. But Celticís heads have gone. Half time canít come soon enough.

39 min: Celtic canít get a touch now. Theyíre in proper Shouldnít Have Made Them Angry territory.

37 min: Neymar, Cavani, Mbappe. Not a bad front line, huh? ďCeltic shouldnít lose heart. Keep testing the keeper. Areola looks like heís got a boob in him.Ē Ladies and gentlemen, this low-hanging fruit has been selected, picked, peeled and served up for you by Mr Matt Dony.

GOAL! PSG 4-1 Celtic (Mbappe 35)

The ballís sent into the box. The ball drops to Marquinhos, level with the left-hand post, 12 yards out. Heís drawn the entire Celtic defence! Preposterous! All he has to do is square the ball for Mbappe, standing 12 yards out, level with the right-hand post. Mbappe takes a touch and guides it past Gordon and into the top left. Gordon got a hand to it, trying his best to get his entire defence out of jail, but it wasnít enough.

Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring his teamís fourth goal.
Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring his teamís fourth goal. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

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35 min: Simunovic is booked for a decent rugby tackle on Mbappe, who was in the process of haring off down the right wing. Free kick. And from that...

33 min: Space for Dani Alves down the right. He wheechs a cross into the box. Cavani, on the edge of the area, lashes a first-time shot over the bar. Wild. Celtic hearts were in mouths there.

31 min: So having said that, Ntcham sprays a long ball down the inside-left channel for Dembele to chase. The Celtic striker is one on one with Marquinhos. He drops a shoulder in the hope of stripping the PSG defender on the outside, but itís too obvious a move and he loses possession. For a second, though, the hosts were seriously on the back foot.

30 min: Suddenly, after a decent 20 minutes, Celtic look uncertain, their confidence kaput. Theyíre struggling to string two passes together. Half time is a distant speck in the distance right now.

GOAL! PSG 3-1 Celtic (Cavani 29)

The ballís worked back to Verratti, 30 yards from goal. He loops towards Mbappe and Neymar on the left-hand edge of the six-yard box. The pair both go for the same header. It breaks across the face of goal for Cavani, who canít miss from a couple of yards.

Edinson Cavani (C) of Paris Saint Germain scores.
Edinson Cavani (C) of Paris Saint Germain scores. Photograph: Yoan Valat/EPA

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27 min: PSG continue to ping it around in an aesthetically acceptable style. Neymar tries to kid Bitton with a dropped shoulder down the left. He so nearly scampers clear into the box. A corner will have to do. And from it ...

26 min: Neymar, quarterbacking from deep on the right, sends a crossfield looper towards Cavani, who meets it just inside the box and slaps a diagonal volley inches wide of the right-hand post. That would have been picture-book. It would also have been offside, the flag going up after Cavani went too early. But still, that was a very pretty effort.

25 min: What a response this has been by PSG. Lesser teams would have taken a while to recover from that super-early, semi-self-inflicted blow. But here we are.

23 min: Cavani has a dig from 25 yards, but drags his effort wide right. Celtic need to regroup here. Thing is, theyíve played very well so far. Itís just ... itís just ... Neymar.

GOAL! PSG 2-1 Celtic (Neymar 22)

Itís entertaining all right, though Celtic might not be enjoying it so much. PSG stroke it around awhile. Suddenly Neymar springs into life. He one-twos with Rabiot and Verratti down the inside-left channel, and heís suddenly in space in the Celtic box. For the second time tonight, he draws Gordon and threads a shot across the keeper and into the bottom right. It looks so easy. It really isnít. Celtic could do nothing about that.

Paris Saint-Germainís Brazilian striker Neymar celebrates his second goal.
Paris Saint-Germainís Brazilian striker Neymar celebrates his second goal. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

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21 min: Celtic come straight back at PSG. Dembele, to the left of the D, tees up Ntcham for a first-time shot with a cushioned touch. Ntcham, falling backwards, sends a low screamer inches wide of the right-hand post. Not sure Areola had that covered. This is an awfully entertaining match.

20 min: Dani Alves sends a looping pass down the inside-right channel. Mbappe strides into the box after the ball, and meets it on the volley as it drops over his shoulder, sending the ball over the crossbar. That would have been a gorgeous goal. It wouldnít have been a million miles away from the Gerrard-Cisse combination in the 2006 FA Cup final.

18 min: Rogic powers through the middle. Heís brought down just outside the area. Heís not getting the foul, though. No matter: Celtic come again, McGregor releasing Ntcham down the left. Ntcham reaches the byline and whips back for Dembele on the penalty spot. Dembele shapes like Zidane to hit the ball first time, but can only send it squirting harmlessly wide left. Celtic are clearly in the mood to give it a go, and to hell with it, which is refreshing.

16 min: Rabiot very nearly releases Cavani through the middle with a sliderule pass; Simunovic does very well to intercept with a telescopic leg. The best form of defence may be attack. Dembele goes tearing down the left and feeds McGregor, tight on the touchline. McGregor whips low and hard into the area. Areola gathers at the second attempt.

15 min: PSG float three speculative high balls into the Celtic box. Cavani, Mbappe and Verratti take turns to nearly get the ball under control. Celtic are under pressure here.

13 min: Lustig has tweaked his hamstring while turning to stop a ball going out for a corner. On comes Nir Bitton in his stead. All of a sudden, Celticís fast start seems an awfully long time ago.

11 min: A free kick for PSG out on the left. The hosts load the box. Neymar takes. Itís curled into the mixer. Gordon claims a dipping ball on the edge of his six-yard box, but Kurzawa was inches away from tickling that with his eyebrows and sending it flashing into the net.

GOAL! PSG 1-1 Celtic (Neymar 9)

Well that didnít take long for the hot home side to get back on terms. Brown loses the ball in the middle of the park, a sloppy pass intercepted by Rabiot. The PSG midfielder drives forward, then slides a pass down the inside-left channel for Neymar, who enters the box, draws Gordon off his line, and slots low and hard across the keeper and into the bottom right. What a glorious finish! What a game we have here!

Neymar celebrates scoring their first goal.
Neymar celebrates scoring their first goal. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

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7 min: This is a nice statistic. Ntchamís corner was Celticís first touch of the match; Dembeleís goal was their second. As fast starts go, thatís pretty efficient.

6 min: But the goalís given Celtic confidence, and McGregor wins the ball a couple of times deep in enemy territory. He links up with Tierney out on the left. A cross whipped into the box. Marquinhos whips clear.

4 min: PSG enjoy a little possession in the Celtic half, but do nothing in particular with it. A decent enough response by the home team, though the Parc des Princes crowd have been shocked into silence. The away fans giving it plenty.

2 min: So PSG have finally conceded a Champions League goal. And what a comedy of errors it was. But take nothing away from Dembeleís strike; he really put his foot through it, and got the lucky break he deserved!

GOAL! PSG 0-1 Celtic (Dembele 57 sec)

The cornerís pulled back by Ntcham to Dembele, on the right-hand edge of the PSG box. Dembele takes a first-time whack. Thereís a deflection, confusing Areola, and the ball flies into the top-left corner off the keeperís palms!

Celticís Moussa Dembele scores their first goal.
Celticís Moussa Dembele scores their first goal. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

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Celtic get into their pre-match huddle ... then into position ... and weíre off! The hosts get the ball rollingm and stroke it around the back a bit. Stroke, pass, ping. Then a very weird business as Ntcham presses down the Celtic left, forcing Dani Alves into a strange crossfield blooter across the face of his own goal and out of play to the right of the net! A very odd corner conceded. And...

Here come the teams! Paris Saint-Germain sport their blue shirts with red strip down the chest; Celtic wear those famous green and white hoops. A rare old atmosphere at the Parc des Princes, only momentarily jiggered by that bloody Handel-bothering Uefa theme. Weíll be off in a minute!

Brendan Rodgers speaks! ďYou go into every game hoping you get a result. The pitch is amazing, the stadium is amazing, we know itís gong to be a really tough game, but we showed in our last game that we played with that belief that you can come into this game and create chances and score goals. Now we may not have the most possession tonight, but whatís important is that you have the dangerous possession. If we can defend strongly, weíre in with a fighting chance. Weíve gone with two more midfield players to keep us narrow; Scott Sinclair and Stuart Armstrong have little niggles, so itís not good to risk them when we have a huge squad and a big game at the weekend.Ē

Paris Saint-Germain name the same XI sent out to thrash Celtic at Parkhead back in September ... nearly. Thereís one difference: Thiago Motta is replaced by Julian Draxler.

Celtic meanwhile make three changes to the team forced to scrap for their victory at Ross County last weekend. Jozo Simunovic, Tom Rogic and Olivier Ntcham are in; Nir Bitton, Scott Sinclair and Stuart Armstrong drop to the bench.

The teams

Paris Saint-Germain: Areola, Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Kurzawa, Verratti, Rabiot, Draxler, Mbappe-Lottin, Cavani, Neymar.
Subs: Trapp, Kimpembe, Di Maria, Meunier, Yuri, Lo Celso, Pastore.

Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Simunovic, Tierney, Brown, Forrest, McGregor, Rogic, Ntcham, Dembele.
Subs: De Vries, Bitton, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Armstrong, Eboue.

Referee: Tasos Sidiropoulos (Greece).

Preamble

Celtic canít make it through to the knockout stage, but significant reward could be theirs tonight nonetheless. Should they beat Paris Saint-Germain, theyíll be guaranteed a place in the Europa League in the new year. And a draw might even be enough, if elsewhere Anderlecht fail to stop Bayern Munich. A most acceptable consolation prize is Celticís for the taking.

Problem is, taking is a big ask. PSG are on something of a roll in Europe; theyíve won all four of their games in Group B, scoring 17 goals and conceding none. Theyíve spanked Bayern Munich 3-0 and Anderlecht 5-0 at the Parc des Princes. More worryingly for Brendan Rodgers side, they won 5-0 at Parkhead as well, a result which stands as Celticís record European home defeat.

The stats get worse for Celtic. PSG have lost just one of their last 45 European home games; Celtic by contrast have won just one of their last 19 fixtures in the group stages of European competition. The Bhoys have only won once in France, against Nantes in the first round of their victorious Lisbon Lions campaign, 51 years ago. As for the head-to-head: PSG have three wins from three, with Celtic yet to ripple the net against the French side.

But hey, records are there to be broken. And you donít go 64 domestic matches unbeaten without having a little something in your locker. ďCeltic are a very good side full of international players who are used to winning,Ē notes PSG boss Unai Emery, showing utmost respect. Only problem for Celtic being, Emeryís side are in pretty great nick too: PSG are 22 matches unbeaten in all competitions, and are rattling them in at a rate of over 3.5 goals per game. Theyíre one of the hottest teams in Europe; itís going to be some test for the champions of Scotland.

Kick off: 7.45pm GMT, 8.45pm in Paris.

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