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Neymar, Kylian Mbappe Power PSG to 4-0 Coupe De France Win over Stade Pontivy

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 6, 2019

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (R) celebrates with Paris Saint-Germain's  Kylian Mbappe after scoring a goal during the French Cup football match between GSI Pontivy and Paris Saint-Germain on January 6, 2019 at the Moustoir stadium in Lorient, western France. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
LOIC VENANCE/Getty Images

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were both on target for Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday, as the holders avoided a shock in the Coupe de France with a 4-0 win over fifth-tier side Stade Pontivy.  

The defending champions broke the deadlock on 24 minutes, when defender Sylvain Jule tried to clear Neymar's cross into the penalty area and sliced the ball into the back of his own net.

Christopher Nkunku then had an effort ruled out just a minute later. The midfielder tapped home after Neymar's free-kick had hit the post, but his effort was correctly ruled out for offside.

Neymar made the game safe in the second half with PSG's second of the night. The Brazilian swapped passes with Moussa Diaby before firing under goalkeeper Clement Daoudou.

Mbappe then won a penalty after being brought down in the penalty area. The 20-year-old coolly converted the spot-kick to make it 3-0, before Julian Draxler added a fourth late on to seal the win.

   

Tuchel Deserves Credit for Neymar's Improved Attitude

PSG manager Thomas Tuchel named a strong team for Sunday's cup clash against the fifth-tier minnows.

The German was rewarded with a bright performance from Neymar on his 50th PSG appearance:

Paris Saint-Germain @PSG_English

📈🔝 #GSIPSG Tonight @neymarjr is playing his 5⃣0⃣th match for @PSG_English 💪 Describe the number 🔟 in 1⃣ word! 😍 ❤💙 #AllezParis https://t.co/NYjqrr8Y3A

The Brazilian was PSG's liveliest player throughout the 90 minutes and demonstrated his improved attitude with an influential display.

It was his cross into the box that led to the opening goal, he hit the post with a free-kick, scored PSG's second goal and set up Draxler for the fourth of the night.

Neymar also worked hard for the cause and looked hungry for the win. He picked up a booking for a strong challenge in the second half, but there were no theatrics from the 26-year-old, who kept his discipline after his yellow card.

It's a big improvement from his early days at the French side, when he attracted plenty of negative headlines.

Neymar reportedly wanted to choose which games he played in under former manager Unai Emery, according to Duncan Castles at Yahoo Sport UK.

It's been a different story this season under Tuchel, and the former Borussia Dortmund boss deserves credit for Neymar's improved attitude.

Tuchel has got Neymar playing for the team, showing maturity and still coming up with the goods. His goal against Stade Pontivy was his 17th in all competitions for the Ligue 1 side already this season.

The PSG boss has spoken about how Neymar wants to play in every PSG game:

Goal @goal

Has Tuchel made the right decision with Neymar? https://t.co/ZTj8yrCVug

Tuchel could have opted to leave his big stars out of Sunday's clash given the lowly nature of the opposition. However, he made the right decision to start Neymar, and he was the key man for the holders.

          

What's Next?

PSG play their first Ligue 1 fixture of 2019 on Saturday at Amiens, while Pontivy take on Guingamp II.

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