From a soap opera to a white-wash. PSG so impressively dismissed a week of controversy and dressing-room politics by utterly dismissing Bayern Munich 3-0.
It was also an indictment of Bayern that – by half-time – this game wasn’t about whether they could get back into the game, but whether grown men were happy playing together. A character study, rather than a contest with PSG.
That’s how bad Carlo Ancelotti’s side was, that’s how irresistible PSG was. There was still an individual stand-out even if this was a night that was supposed to be about the collective – and it wasn’t Neymar.
After a week of noise about the Brazilian’s relationship with Edinson Cavani, the supreme Kylian Mbappe just cut through all of that – and the Bayern defence – with the purest type of talent and ability. He may not have scored, but he was the player most responsible for his two attacking teammates scoring, after Dani Alves hit the first.
He was simply joyous to watch.
Neymar didn’t quite look happy in that blistering opening minute, but did look focused – as if he was conspicuously trying to prove something. He proved he could move through a painfully slow Bayern defence with ease, anyway, just cutting through them. Whether he was actually looking for Dani Alves is open to doubt, but there was doubt about the full-back’s finish. He simply powered it past Manuel Neuer’s teenage stand-in Sven Ulreich.
It didn’t take too long for him to get his goal, though, because it didn’t take too long for Mbappe to show how good he is again. On 63 minutes, he once more just drilled his way through the Bayern defence, this time finishing the move with a drag across that opened up the box and opened the goal for Neymar to finish.
David Alaba had been utterly humiliated by Mbappe in the same way that Jerome Boateng was by Leo Messi two and a half years ago. Symbolic. So, whatever about Neymar assertions of being “100 per cent Jesus”, that goal was probably 90 per cent Mbappe.
This was also near-total destruction, to the point that PSG could even afford to bring Mbappe off before the 80th minute. He was afforded the total adulation of the crowd, and an ovation.
He had been that good, an individual that important to what was still a compelling collective statement.
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