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September 16, 2018

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PSG stroll to win despite Mbappe, Neymar absence

PARIS: Kylian Mbappe and Neymar watched on from the stands as Paris Saint-Germain prepared for their Champions League trip to Liverpool with an emphatic 4-0 win over Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 on Friday.

Julian Draxler, Edinson Cavani, Angel di Maria and youngster Moussa Diaby all found the net at the Parc des Princes to allow PSG to make it five wins from five games at the start of their defence of the French title.

It was a fine win for PSG, who have already scored 17 goals in the league this season, and Thomas Tuchel is the first coach to win his first five league games in charge of the club.

Mbappe was absent as he began a three-match ban handed down following his red card in the win at Nimes just before the international break, and Neymar sat alongside him in the crowd, rested after playing for Brazil in a friendly in the United States in midweek.

Being without the two most expensive players in the world was not a problem for the reigning champions, with Tuchel able to give Draxler his first start of the season while midfielder Marco Verratti appeared in a Ligue 1 game for the first time since March.

There was also a debut for Spanish left-back Juan Bernat following his recent move from Bayern Munich, and while the visitors started well enough, PSG never looked back after taking the lead midway through the first half.

Verratti’s ball over the top found Draxler in the box, with the German midfielder controlling the ball with his head and then nodding it over Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier.

The Saint-Etienne players were wearing shirts carrying the name of William Gomis, a former youth player at the club who was shot dead in the south of France earlier this week.

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