Neymar and Kylian Mbappe starred as Paris Saint-Germain returned to winning ways on the road in Ligue 1 with a tightly contested 3-2 victory at Bordeaux.
Lionel Messi was again absent through injury, though the other two stars of Mauricio Pochettino’s deadly attacking trident combined to brilliant effect.
Neymar had not scored from open play in Ligue 1 since doing so against Lens in May, but ended that run with two sublime first-half strikes.
Mbappe – who had teed up Neymar’s double – got in on the act midway through the second half to ensure late goals from Alberth Elis and M’Baye Niang were not enough for Bordeaux.
It was far from plain sailing for PSG at first, as Bordeaux had the better of the opening exchanges, regularly catching the visitors dawdling in their own half.
Yet Bordeaux were soon lamenting their failure to make PSG pay, with Neymar taking Mbappe’s floated pass under his spell before drilling a wonderful finish beyond Benoit Costil.
Costil had to be at his best to prevent Mbappe making it 2-0, but could do little to prevent Neymar doubling PSG’s tally before the break.
The combination with Mbappe again came to the fore, Neymar playing a slick one-two with the France star before sliding a cool effort into the bottom-left corner.
Mbappe looked set to go from provider to scorer early in the second half, only for Laurent Koscielny to make a fantastic last-ditch block.
He was not to be denied again, though, and he tucked home into a gaping goal after Ander Herrera’s pass had set Georgino Wijnaldum away.
Elis’ close-range finish gave Bordeaux hope, with substitute Niang then slotting in after a fantastic one-two with Jimmy Briand in stoppage time, but it was too little too late.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) November 6, 2021
What does it mean? No Messi, no problem
Messi’s niggling injury issues have prevented the superstar getting into full flow for PSG, at least in domestic football, but Neymar and Mbappe were more than enough to shrug aside Bordeaux.
With Nice not in action until Sunday, PSG sit clear at the top with 11 wins from 13 games. After a 2-0 defeat at Rennes and a 0-0 draw at Marseille, Saturday’s result also saw the capital club avoid a run of three away games without scoring – a streak they last went on in 2010.
Neymar’s happy hunting ground
Neymar has now scored seven goals against Bordeaux in Ligue 1, making them his favourite opponent in the competition.
Ahead of this much-needed performance, the 29-year-old had not scored in his previous five league matches, which was his longest drought since arriving at PSG in 2017.
More Girondins misery against PSG
Bordeaux have not won any of their last 13 Ligue 1 games against PSG (D4 L9). The Girondins have only had two longer runs without a win against a specific opponent in the top-flight: against Lyon between September 1999 and August 2006 (15) and against Reims between September 1978 and December 2020 (14).
Key Opta Stats: Rare feat for Wijnaldum
– Wijnaldum delivered his first assist with PSG in Ligue 1 and his first in league play since April 2018 (with Liverpool v West Brom), ending a run of 124 games in the top five European leagues without an assist.
– Neymar and Mbappe have exchanged 23 assists with each other in Ligue 1 since the summer of 2017, at least six more than any other duo in the top-flight.
– Brazil forward Neymar scored only his third and fourth Ligue 1 goals from open play in 2021 (eight goals in total) and netted his first league double (excluding penalties) since October 2020 (v Angers).
– With one goal and two assists, Mbappe has been involved in three goals in the same Ligue 1 game for only the second time in 2021, after January against Montpellier (two goals, one assist).
– Mbappe also scored his first goal from open play in the top-flight since September (v Clermont), ending his longest such streak of his career in Ligue 1.
PSG welcome Nantes to the Parc des Princes after the international break on November 20, while Bordeaux visit Metz a day later.