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PSG rampant without Neymar; Henry’s miserable debut

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PARIS (AP) Neymar was not missed as runaway French leader Paris Saint-Germain crushed Amiens 5-0 on Saturday for a 10th straight league win.

Neymar was given a few days off by coach Thomas Tuchel after playing for Brazil in the international break. PSG faces Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday and is then away to bitter rival Marseille on Sunday.

Except for Neymar, PSG’s lineup was near full-strength and the defending champion easily extended the best start to the league. PSG is averaging nearly four goals per game, but should have scored even more at home. Some sloppy finishing will not have impressed Tuchel, who is trying to instill more intensity into the side.

“It wasn’t a great performance,” the demanding Tuchel said. “But we were serious and worked hard for each other.”

Winger Angel Di Maria set up the first two goals with superb delivery from corners, taken from the right and curled with his left foot. It should have been 3-0 moments later, but striker Edinson Cavani somehow shot wide when he had an open goal.

Germany winger Julian Draxler got the third, and a minute later France World Cup star Kylian Mbappe curled a shot through the legs of a defender for his ninth league goal. Moussa Diaby skillfully slotted home the fifth.

Thierry Henry’s coaching debut was miserable as Monaco lost at Strasbourg 2-1, finished with 10 men, lost top scorer Radamel Falcao to injury, and slipped to 19th place.

Henry, the all-time leading scorer for France and Arsenal, got an ovation from the Strasbourg fans when he walked out.

But his ambitions were undermined without his best two goalkeepers who were injured, and two defenders who were suspended. No. 3 goalkeeper Seydou Sy clumsily fumbled a header from midfielder Adrien Thomasson to gift Strasbourg the lead after 17 minutes.

Falcao limped off with what looked like a left-thigh injury in the 36th. Henry took a risk selecting Falcao, considering he played late Wednesday night for Colombia.

Henry then lost another forward, this time to a red card, when Samuel Grandsir was sent off midway through the second half.

Strasbourg made the most of it when South Africa striker Lebo Mothiba was released and confidently dinked the ball over Sy.

Midfielder Youri Tielemans’ injury-time penalty for Monaco was too late.

Second-place Lille remained eight points behind PSG after winning at Dijon 2-1.

Striker Nicolas Pepe scored a penalty and helped set up Brazilian forward Luiz Araujo just before halftime.

Emiliano Sala grabbed a hat trick as Nantes beat Toulouse 4-0 at home to move above Monaco into 18th place.

Last-place Guingamp drew at Caen 0-0, and Reims was held by Angers to 1-1.

Marseille, Montpellier, Saint-Etienne and Bordeaux play on Sunday and all have a chance to overtake Lyon in third place.

Marseille travels to play Nice; Saint-Etienne faces Rennes, and Montpellier hosts Bordeaux.

Miranda’s stoppage time header enough for Brazil vs. Argentina

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Even in a friendly staged nowhere near South America, the Brazil and Argentina rivalry still provided a bit of drama.

Inter Milan’s Joao Miranda headed a stoppage time Neymar corner kick home as Brazil squeezed a 1-0 win out of King Abdulla Sports City in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

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Brazil’s only loss of 2018 remains its World Cup quarterfinal ouster at the hands of Belgium, while Argentina is 5W-2D-4L this year. The wins have come against Guatemala, Iraq, Italy, and Haiti.

There were just six shots on target in the match, four for Brazil, and a whopping 36 fouls.

Kylian Mbappe scores four as PSG thumps Lyon

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It was a close game at halftime in the French capital. And then, in a flash, it wasn’t.

Neymar’s ninth-minute penalty was the difference at the break, but Kylian Mbappe stole the show in the second half, scoring a whopping four goals in a 5-0 demolition of Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday as Paris Saint-Germain remained a perfect nine-of-nine in Ligue 1 play.

Mbappe was the man taken down in the box to lead to Neymar’s spot-kick, and PSG led early.

He then scored all four of his goals in a thirteen-minute span after the break, starting just past the hour mark as he popped up in all the right places. Both teams had a man sent off before the break, with PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe the first man to go thanks to a check of VAR. The 23-year-old charged in studs up on Tanguy NDombele, but was shown a yellow at first before the video review. Just before halftime, Lucas Tousart picked up his second yellow for Lyon and had to go.

With both teams down to 10 men, PSG began to press the Lyon box and Mbappe took advantage. He scored his first in the 61st minute as Neymar weaved through defenders but was tackled before getting a shot off, and the ball fell to Mbappe near the penalty spot for a cool, uncontested finish in off the post. Five minutes later, Marco Verratti’s good work was rewarded as he sprung Marquinhos down the right, and past the back line he crossed easily to Mbappe for the sliding tap-in.

Already on a 3-0 lead, the Lyon defenders looked tired and barely challenged Neymar and Mbappe three minutes later for his hat-trick. Neymar rolled down the left with two defenders simply shading him across the halfway line, and his easy ball to Mbappe down the middle saw him finish his long distance one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

He would close the book on the scoreline in the 74th minute in a scramble as Thomas Meunier saw his initial effort down the right closed down by a charging Anthony Lopes. The rebound fell to Mbappe who found Neymar, and his shot was blocked, and it again fell to Mbappe who would finish it off.

PSG now has 27 points on the season thanks to nine wins from nine matches. That gives them an eight-point advantage at the top of the table, a significant early lead with the bulk of the season still to go.

PSG hammers Red Star Belgrade, McKennie wins it for Schalke

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The early Champions League kickoffs treated fans to a pair of games as an appetizer to the main 3:00 p.m. ET event, and while Neymar was the star of the show, an American youngster stole some of the spotlight.

The Brazilian scored a hat-trick, including a pair of free-kicks, as Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a 6-1 victory over Red Star Belgrade in the French capital. His first came on a delicious set-piece from straight-on outside the top of the box, curling it over the wall and into the top-left corner, leaving Red Star goalkeeper Milan Borjan no chance as he went full stretch.

Neymar scored again just two minutes later as PSG displayed speed in the attack. He played a perfect one-two with Kylian Mbappé, first springing the young French star with a through-ball before trailing the play and roofing the cross for a 2-0 lead.

Edinson Cavani followed that with his first goal of the game for a blistering 3-0 lead eight minutes before the break. It was a hilariously sloppy goal that came off a bungled clear, falling right into Cavani’s lap as he danced around scattered defenders and fired a shot that deflected past Borjan. Angel Di Maria added a fourth for the hosts minutes later, and Mbappe got himself on the scoresheet in the second half before former Chelsea midfielder Marko Marin grabbed a consolation for Red Star late.

Neymar finished off his hat-trick in the dying minutes as he whipped in a free-kick from nearly the exact same position as the first – only a few feet further out – and he went to the top-right corner this time, leaving Borjan with no chance. This time, the goalkeeper didn’t even dive, just giving it an exasperated look before starting to laugh. Cavani nearly had his second and PSG’s seventh, but it was ruled out for offside.

The other early game appeared to be devoid of excitement, until 20-year-old American midfielder Weston McKennie stepped up and bagged the winning goal in the 88th minute. The shot was just the sixth on target of the entire match for both sides, but it made all the difference.

McKennie becomes the eighth American international to score a Champions League goal – and his goal is the latest of any American international in the competition – while more importantly, it marks his first professional club goal.

Neymar scores brilliant free-kick to start PSG off

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PSG demolished Red Star Belgrade in the first half, and Neymar was the star of the show.

The Brazilian’s free-kick goal kicked things off 20 minutes in as the French giants swallowed Red Star whole. Neymar earned a free-kick directly outside the top of the box, and the 26-year-old produced a set-piece delivery that left Red Star goalkeeper Milan Borjan no chance.

That was the first of many, as the home side added three more before the halftime break, including a second for Neymar just two minutes later.

Edinson Cavani and Angel di Maria also got in on the act, while Kylian Mbappe added an assist on Neymar’s second. PSG held a whopping 79% possession through the first 45 minutes, peppering Borjan’s goal with 13 total shots, nine of them on target. PSG also took four corners to none for the visitors.

Red Star had been on a 34 match unbeaten run before the game kicked off, and coming back to earth is painful for the Serbian club.