Debutant Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani flexed their muscles as Paris Saint-Germain romped to a 5-1 victory over 10-man Metz – their first outing since putting together the most expensive forward line in the history of football.
Mbappe marked his first appearance with a bullet finish from the edge of the area, £200m man Neymar bagged his fourth in four games with a wonderful swerving effort and Cavani – a snip at £55m four years ago – grabbed a double.
Rock-bottom Metz had threatened a major shock at Stade Saint-Symphorien – equalising through Emmanuel Riviere, who then passed up an open net at 1-1 – but were comprehensively outclassed after Benoit Assou-Ekotto was harshly dismissed for a physical challenge on Mbappe.
The circumstances might have been favourable to Unai Emery’s side, but once the red card opened the door they barged through it with verve and skill that comes with a price tag only they can meet.
Elsewhere in Ligue 1 there will be justified shudders, with Angel Di Maria not fit to make a bench that boasted final goalscorer Lucas Moura, Thiago Silva and Dani Alvies.
Despite their collective threat it was not until the 22nd minute that they actually came close to scoring. With Mbappe and Neymar both involved in the build-up, Thomas Meunier slipped through Cavani, whose clever chip beat the ‘keeper but not the base of the post.
Surprisingly, Alphonse Areloa’s woodwork also saw action, Riviere turning Marquinhos and clipping the frame of the goal.
As it was Cavani latched on to Neymar’s exquisite 31st-minute pass, delivered nonchalantly with the outside of the boot, and rounded Eiji Kawashima to slot home the opener. Mbappe was in close proximity throughout but stopped short of poaching his team-mate’s chance.
Instead the teenager began to show his teamwork skills, providing shooting chances for the Uruguayan with a back-heel and a brilliant cross inside seconds.
But it was Metz who scored next, Emery’s side opening up far too easily to the prompting of Mathieu Dossevi, who held off Meunier and picked out Riviere.
Riviere had a golden chance to put his side ahead after the break but somehow missed an open goal after Marquinhos and Areola combined to make a mess of a back pass.
That was Metz’s last chance, harshly losing Assou-Ekotto for what was a strong but seemingly well-judged challenge on the rapid Mbappe.
The debutant was celebrating soon after, scooping the ball into the box and then meeting the subsequent clearance with a devastating strike from a yard outside the area. It was a combination of unpredictability and finesse which, as PSG’s money men now know, does not come cheap.
It was one-way traffic from there, Cavani clattering the crossbar before Neymar ensured his share of the spotlight by driving at goal and firing a flat, curling effort from 30 yards.
Cavani’s second was less of a picture, a messy but effective finish after Yuri Berchiche’s cross, and Moura climbed off the bench to add the gloss after his initial attempt came off the post.
In the other game on Friday night, Lille held Bordeaux to a goalless draw despite Thiago Maia’s early red card.