Just as well Paris Saint-Germain coach Luis Enrique said that the Champions League would not be an obsession for his squad this season.
During the first-half, his side played with purpose against a disciplined Borussia Dortmund team but did not display or – more importantly – sense the panic from the terraces when the goals failed to materialise.
In days of yore when European club football’s most prestigious trophy was the lodestar, seething hostility would have accompanied the players to the dressing rooms for half-time.
After a goalless 45 mintues on Tuesday night at the Parc des Princes, there was acknowledgement of toil and effort, an appreciation that luck had not been with them.
Three minutes into the second-half, the break came. Ousmane Dembélé sped down the right wing and cut the ball back for Kylian Mbappé but his shot hit the hand of Niklas Suele. Referee Jesús Gil Manzano pointed to the penalty spot.
Suele and his Dortmund cohorts protested vociferously. Gil Manzano graciously checked with the video assistants who confirmed his original decision.
Mbappé stepped up and swept the ball into the left hand corner of the goal past Gregor Kobel. The Parc des Princes exploded with relief.
Dortmund, who had shown glimpses of menace in the opening period, seemed baffled as to how to respond.
Their bemusement increased exponentially 10 minutes later following Achraf Hakimi’s goal.
It was a slick finish from the Morocco international defender who showed a striker’s cunning to cut the ball inside the lunge of defender Mats Hummels and then stab it right footed past Kobel.
Enrique celebrated the slickness with his coaches on the sidelines.
On the field, Dortmund’s Nico Schlotterbeck scythed through Dembéle to collect a booking. His skipper Emre Can joined him for backchat.
There was a tad more drive from the visitors following the substitutions. Niclas Fullkrug and Marco Reus came on for Donyell Malen and Julian Brandt.
And Dortmund looked for a way back in. Ten minutes from time, substitute Jamie Bynoe-Gittens ran at the PSG backline and struck goalwards but his shot cannoned off the left hand post.
Three minutes later, PSG subsitute Gonçalo Ramos should have wrapped up proceedings but he lifted his effort over the bar after Mbappé played him through.
The Portuguese striker’s miss did not prove costly for the hosts who took an early command of Group F following the goalless draw between AC Milan and Newcastle United.
“We were excellent,” Enrique told French broadcaster RMC Sport 1.
“The midfielders, the full-backs … everyone played a consistent game, especially in the first-half.
“It’s a deserved victory. We could have scored more goals, but they were complete opponents.”
Elsewhere in the competition, Argentina international Julian Alvaraez bagged a brace as defending champions Manchester City came from a goal down to beat FK Crvena Zvezda 3-1 in Group G. Joao Felix also scored twice in Barcelona’s 5-0 demolition of Royal Antwerp in Group H.
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