Chelsea, PSG make big statements | The Daily Star
12:08 AM, September 14, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:13 AM, September 14, 2017

UEFA Champions League

Chelsea, PSG make big statements

Lionel Messi stole the spotlight on the opening day of this season's Champions League yesterday with his brace in Barcelona's 3-0 win over Juventus, overshadowing many of the other matches which saw big teams score big wins.

Neymar made his Champions League bow since leaving the Nou Camp and he was instrumental in Paris Saint-Germain's 5-0 demolition of Celtic in Glasgow -- the worst European result for the Scottish club in their storied history.

PSG's next opponents in Group B will be five-time European champions Bayern Munich, who began their campaign by brushing aside Anderlecht 3-0 at the Allianz Arena.

Meanwhile Jose Mourinho's Manchester United, the three-time winners, marked their return to Europe's elite competition after a one-year hiatus with a win against Basel.

But Mourinho's old club Chelsea were the biggest winners on the night, thrashing group stage newcomers Qarabag 6-0 at Stamford Bridge in Group C.

NEYMAR, MBAPPE, CAVANI TRIUMPH

Paris St Germain's attacking trio of Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani were all on the scoresheet as they tore Celtic apart to lead the French club to a 5-0 rout.

The world's most expensive frontline produced a potent display of force to sweep Celtic aside, inflicting the heaviest home European defeat on the Scottish side.

Neymar, making his first European appearance for PSG after his world-record move from Barcelona, orchestrated proceedings, ably assisted by teenager Mbappe and experienced Cavani, the other two members of PSG's exciting forward trio.

"I'm very happy. It was a fantastic match and I'm happy for the team. It was an important win," Neymar told reporters.

ZAPPACOSTA STUNNER FOR SIX STAR BLUES

Chelsea enjoyed a triumphant return to the Champions League after a year out on Tuesday, thumping the competition's debutants Qarabag 6-0, including a stunning, if miscued, strike from new signing Davide Zappacosta.

The Italian was joined on the scoresheet by another new Chelsea arrival Frenchman Tiemoue Bakayoko on a satisfying night for manager Antonio Conte after a summer of frustration in the transfer market.

"It was a good start for us. To score many goals, to win and to have a clean sheet -- I saw a lot of positive things tonight," Conte said.

Deadline-day signing Zappacosta, apparently looking to cross the ball, produced a swirling screamer of a goal from some 35 metres out on the half hour. And he admitted that he had no intention of shooting.

“I'll be honest, I wanted to cross, then I hit the ball fully with my instep," he said after the match. "I'm really happy. It was a dream debut, with a goal at Stamford Bridge."

MAN UNITED MARK RETURN

Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford both opened their Champions League accounts as Manchester United returned to the competition with a 3-0 rout of Basel in their opening Group A match at Old Trafford.

United, who missed last season's Champions League, dominated and deservedly went ahead through early substitute Marouane Fellaini's 35th-minute header.

Belgian international striker Lukaku, a constant menace to the Swiss champions on his competition debut, doubled United's lead with a textbook header soon after halftime.

Rashford came off the bench for his first taste of Champions League action and poached United's third goal in the 84th minute.

"We are delighted with the win after the slip at Stoke at the weekend," Lukaku said in reference to United's 2-2 draw in the Premier League on Saturday, their first dropped points of the season. "The football wasn't great but we won and that's the most important thing.

"We are still a work in progress but we are doing well."

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