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PSG start their Champions League journey well after their victory against Juventus
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PSG start their Champions League journey well after their victory against Juventus

Since Monday, September 5 and the failed stroke of humor by Christophe Galtier, Paris has stolen from Berck-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais) the title of French capital of “land yachting”. But without the beaches. Enough to forget that the Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG) coach’s press conference initially had a much less crucial object for the future of the planet than our future modes of transport, namely a League match. champions.

Read also: Christophe Galtier, the coach of PSG, is ironic about the trips of his players by private jet

It may be a detail on the scale of the planet’s health book, but this match, PSG won it at home against Juventus Turin (2-1), Tuesday, September 6. An ideal start, or not far.

But when the Parisian coach finds the auditorium of the Parc des Princes after the meeting, he attacks directly on what he calls his “bad taste joke” from the day before to the question on the mode of travel of his team which had carried out, on Saturday, in a private jet a Nantes-Paris. “If I love to make humor and it is important to do so, I realized that it was a joke in bad taste on a very sensitive subject and I saw the proportions that it took . Here, at PSG, we are not above ground (…) ; believe me at the club, we are all affected by these climate problems. »

The planet can still burn, Christophe Galtier has pulled out the extinguisher to limit the unexpected damage to his image, and that of his new employer, after an idyllic start in the field. In Saint-Etienne, Lille or Nice, the man was used to a fairly free, relaxed speech, sometimes venturing on social issues. Caught in the media washing machine for twenty-four hours, the Marseillais measured that at PSG, even the controversies took on a whole new dimension.

“Louche” and smell of smoke

But the performance of his players against Juventus did not make the new station master lose his smile, who enjoyed the first half (“of a good level on a technical level, on the intensity”) and savored the two goals scored by Kylian Mbappé (at the 5e and 22e minutes), the same one who curled up at the joke of his coach on Monday. On the first, the French striker emerges in the heart of the Turin defense to volley a “ladle” from Neymar.

The gesture says a lot about the Brazilian, about his talent and his confidence at the time. The ladle is as much an anachronism as the refocusing kick in rugby, the serve and volley on the second ball in tennis or the attack when refueling in cycling. Either this gesture at a standstill in an increasingly moving football with this nonchalant way of taking the ball off the ground by passing your foot underneath.

Because in football more than anywhere else, love comes and goes, “Thank you Neymar” descended from the Auteuil bend, which was nevertheless the focus of the rumble against the player the previous spring, who had become the symbol of a PSG with too much rhinestones, glitter and European disillusions for some of the “ultra” supporters.

While the smell of smoke “cracked” by Auteuil still permeates the air (and risks being the subject of a UEFA investigation not very sensitive to this type of scenography), the game of PSG appears on good tracks. Neymar shines, Mbappé concludes the actions in one touch with a clinical precision worthy of an Edinson Cavani of the good evenings and the “Old Lady” – who we have known more dashing – wonders why she is not yet in bed.

For the quibblers, there is still reason to object. In defense, Sergio Ramos always looks good but his legs sometimes seem to betray him at 36 and after an almost white season. At his side, his captain, Marquinhos, confirms that he is not going through the best period of his career. Tactically, the 3-4-3 system may offer the best ecosystem for the Messi-Neymar, Mbappé trio, but it could prove to be very energy-intensive in midfield for the duo formed by the Italian Marco Verratti and the excellent Portuguese recruit, Vitinha.

When Mbappé forgets Neymar

And then PSG remains PSG with this guilty ability to reach out to its opponent. And sometimes all it takes is one action. At the 51e minute, Lionel Messi launches the TGV Mbappé in depth. The whole Park saw Neymar’s frantic race to emerge alone at the far post. The game calls for a pass, but the Bondy prodigy shoots. Wrong.

Asked about this action, Christophe Galtier took out his diplomatic bag, and pleaded the temperament specific to the great scorers. “Kylian scored two magnificent goals, it’s the striker’s obsession to score a hat-trick. » The interested party, on the other hand, evokes “game facts” at the microphone of Canal+ and claims to have already missed goals in his career and that he “will miss again later”. A way to relativize without apologizing.

Still, on the ground, two minutes later, Juve punished the Italian. After a quickly played corner, Weston McKennie (53e) took advantage of a bad outing from Gianluigi Donnaruma to maintain hope for his family and sow doubt among the Parisians. After all, the Santiago-Bernabeu disaster against Real Madrid last season in the round of 16 (1-0 first leg, 1-3 return) also had as its starting point a ball from the Italian goalkeeper of PSG in a hurry by Karim Benzema.

Read also: Relive PSG – Juventus: Paris Saint-Germain start the Champions League with a victory

Different context, different outcome. This time, Donnaruma made the save in the wake of his mistake on a header from Turin Dusan Vlahovic. Thereafter, PSG handled day-to-day business, as they learned to do in the Champions League group stages for almost a decade without a hitch.

Dominating Juve, on the other hand, is a new feeling after six defeats, two draws in its history and above all a lot of frustrating eliminations in the 1990s. The next opponent of the Parisians also refers to this decade, that of the Canal+ years or rather from the beginning of their twilight.

In October 1998, Maccabi Haifa eliminated PSG in 16e final of the defunct Coupe des Coupes. See you on September 14 in Israel for the distant revenge. And the latest news, the SNCF does not offer an alternative solution to the plane for this destination. The kind of easy joke that Christophe Galtier should keep to himself from now on.