Kylian Mbappe provided the moments of magic as Paris Saint-Germain collected their first silverware of the new season with a 2-1 French Champions Trophy victory over Rennes in Shenzhen Saturday.
PSG’s German boss Thomas Tuchel looked relieved more than delighted afterwards, given his side were behind at half-time.
“There’s fatigue for everyone,” said Tuchel, pointing to the steamy conditions in the southern Chinese city and the fact the game came at the end of a long road trip.
“We have had a lot of reorganisation with new players but we still played very well. The win is a good reward for us. We had about 10 shots that somehow didn’t go in. But we found gaps and we turned it into a good performance. It was a good opening for us for the new season.
In was revenge, of sorts, for PSG after a loss on penalties to the same club in the French Cup back in April.
PSG went on to win the French title — their sixth in seven years — but the Qatar-owned side have made no secret that their eyes are the Champions League this season.
That’s still a long a long way off but there were positive signs as the French season officially kicked off inside Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre Stadium.
The 25,000-odd gathered on a steamy night had eyes -– and hearts –- only for Mbappe, screaming at the French World Cup-winner’s every move.
The 20-year-old superstar duly rose to the fanfare in the second half as PSG came back from 1-0 at the break to seal the trophy.
– Spotlight on Mbappe –
After threatening with some mazy runs throughout the first half, Mbappe finally found himself front and centre as the ball caromed around the box on 57 minutes. It finally fell at his feet just a few yards out, and Mbappe made no mistake.
Emboldened, PSG started dominating play with Argentine forward Angel Di Maria in particular giving the Rennes defence the run around.