Neymar, Kylian Mbappe Score as PSG Advance to Champions League Knockout Round

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2018

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar celebrates after scoring a goal during the European Champions League football match Crvena Zvezda Belgrade vs Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on December 11, 2018 at Rajko-Mitic stadium in Belgarde. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain defeated Red Star Belgrade 4-1 on the road in Group C, and the French champions secured a spot in the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

Edinson Cavani gave the visitors the advantage after nine minutes following superb work by Kylian Mbappe, with Neymar doubling the lead after a stunning solo effort shortly before the interval.

Red Star battled their way back into the contest in the second half, and the hosts were rewarded for their fight after Marko Gobeljic found the back of the net after 56 minutes.

The atmosphere was electric as the Serbian side chased the game, but PSG did enough to weather the storm.

Marquinhos provided the killer blow after 74 minutes, heading home from Angel Di Maria's precision set piece.

Mbappe finished his effort in style with his side's fourth in the dying seconds of the match.

PSG progress as group winner. Liverpool snatched second place after beating Napoli 1-0 at Anfield.

                

Neymar-Inspired PSG Good Enough to Win Champions League

Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe (L) celebrates with Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar after scoring a goal during the European Champions League football match Crvena Zvezda Belgrade vs Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on December
ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/Getty Images

PSG came into the match with concerns over qualification for the knockout rounds, but you wouldn't have known that by their performance.

The intimidating Belgrade atmosphere made little difference as Neymar and his team-mates got to work, delivering a top-class performance.

The French champions dominated proceedings in the first half, and it was the Brazilian icon who provided one of the moments of the match with a delightful finish.

Neymar arrived at PSG from Barcelona with the intention of winning the Champions League. The forward has sometimes cut a divisive figure, but his quality was obvious to see in Serbia.

Red Star Belgrade's Dutch midfielder Lorenzo Ebicilio (L) vies with Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar during the European Champions League football match Crvena Zvezda Belgrade vs Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on December 11, 2018 at Rajko-Mitic
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Red Star appeared a different team in the second half, but they were powerless to stop Neymar shortly before half-time, with the attacker dancing through the defence.

The atmosphere went up a level after the restart and PSG were rattled, but Neymardisplayed leadership as his side grabbed their third and fourth.

It was a good test for PSG and their former Barca superstar. Neymar was a calming influence as Red Star did their best to physically dominate him in the tackle.

This version of Les Parisiens is good enough to finally earn the French team their first success in Europe's biggest competition. 

PSG now have the balance they have craved since they first started dining at the top table of world football.

                                    

Thomas Tuchel Has Improved Kylian Mbappe's Game

Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe (C) is congratulated by Paris Saint-Germain's German coach Thomas Tuchel (L) at the end of the European Champions League football match Crvena Zvezda Belgrade vs Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on December 11,
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Mbappe needs no additional plaudits since bursting on the scene in Monaco, but the France World Cup winner is developing into a rounded attacking force.

The arrival of Tuchel last summer has seen Mbappe's performance level rise once again, and the 19-year-old is threatening to become the best forward on the planet.

Mbappe's pace and precision were vital in PSG's opening goal, with the teenager bursting past his marker before playing the perfect pass for Cavani to score.

As Neymar floated in deeper positions, Mbappe was left to induce terror into the Red Star defence at every opportunity.

Football writer Tom Williams highlighted the player's contribution in the first half:

Mbappe's creativity and productivity have improved under his latest club boss, and in combination with Neymar and Cavani, PSG are definite contenders to win the competition in current form.

The youngster was rewarded with a goal in injury time, and it was all the French player deserved after a stellar contribution.

                                                                                                                                                  

What's Next

Both sides are ready to appear domestically on Saturday. PSG are set to travel to lowly Dijon in Ligue 1, while Red Star face Cukaricki on the road in the Serbian SuperLiga.

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