BEIJING: French Ligue 1 title-holders Paris Saint-Germain added the Champions Trophy to their growing list of accolades with a 2-0 win over Cup winners Guingamp in Beijing yesterday.
Star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored both goals inside the opening 20 minutes as the champions effectively ended the match as a contest inside the first period.
“We came here (to Beijing) because of the Champions Trophy and therefore to win it,” said PSG coach Laurent Blanc.
“It’s something very positive. The other positive is that we continued our preparation, our hard work and we didn’t reduce our training programme due to today’s match.”
PSG were without several regular starters who are still recovering after their World Cup exertions, including captain Thiago Silva and new signing David Luiz, but Blanc used the opportunity to give some younger players a chance.
“This month of August will be quite strange as we have players arriving at different times and not everyone is in the same physical condition.
“But we have young players and it’s the coach’s job to have faith in them, like tonight.”
It was the capital-based outfit’s second successive victory in the competition, between the French champions and Cup winners, having defeated Bordeaux in Gabon in 2013.
They also won the first ever edition in 1995, beating Nantes on penalties.
Guingamp coach Jocelyn Gourvennec said his side’s defeat was no surprise.
“PSG won in a logical manner. We had a few chances to get back into it with dead-ball situations but it was tough chasing the ball in this heat and they hold it better than us,” he said.
“No team in France and very few in Europe manage to have more possession than PSG.”
Ibrahimovic opened the scoring after just nine minutes when taking goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa by surprise with a shot from 20 yards. On 20 minutes he doubled the advantage form the penalty spot after Jean-Christophe Bahebeck was brought down by Lars Jacobsen.
The big Swede was enjoying a purple patch and in the last minute tried his luck from inside his own half, although without success.
Frighteningly, Blanc said there is a lot more to come from Ibrahimovic.
“Ibra is not in top form, like the rest of the team,” said the former France coach.
“We expect to have a lot of competition from teams who are further advanced in their preparation than us but despite all that, we always want to play good football and to finish off chances, and Ibra finishes off a lot of chances for us.
“Consequently, it’s not unsurprising that he made the difference and was man-of-the-match.”
Guingamp’s best opportunity came in the 31st minute when Brazilian centre-back Marquinhos was harshly adjudged to have brought down Claudio Beauvue, but Italian goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, who was a virtual spectator throughout, saved Mustapha Yatabare’s spot-kick.
PSG begin their quest for a third straight Ligue 1 title on Friday at Reims.