Paris Saint-Germain began the defence of their Coupe de France title with a dominant 6-1 win at Rennes, as Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel Di Maria all got on the scoresheet.
The Parisians had scored four goals in four of the last five meetings between these sides, while PSG’s winning run over Rennes stretched seven matches.
Unai Emery’s side had reached that familiar goal tally by half-time at the Roazhon Park, efforts from Mbappe, Neymar and Di Maria followed by a stunning team move finished off by the world’s most expensive player.
There was no place for Edinson Cavani or Javier Pastore in Emery’s matchday squad after the pair reported back late from the mid-season break, but it did not dent PSG’s attacking verve.
Indeed, the club’s top scorer could find himself out in the cold a little longer if this front three is allowed to continue such form, with Di Maria and Mbappe assisting each other’s second goals after Benjamin Bourigeaud’s penalty had sparked the visitors into another late flurry.
Emery’s selection will be intriguing when PSG travel to Amiens in the Coupe de la Ligue on Wednesday, while January brings tricky Ligue 1 trips to Nantes and Lyon before focus turns to the Champions League tie with Real Madrid.
Whether those sides will be quite as welcoming as Rennes – beaten by the capital club 4-1 in December – is another matter. PSG’s first foray forward ended in farce as Mbappe somehow scooped over the crossbar from four yards, but the teenage star soon reverted to type in the ninth minute, smashing home left-footed after Thiago Silva’s pass arced perfectly over the Rennes backline.
Neymar made it two eight minutes later, accepting a pass from Marco Verratti, swivelling past his man and slotting home.
The Brazilian was once again involved for number three, playing in Yuri Berchiche on the left flank – the full-back’s brilliant cross taking out the defence again to leave Di Maria with a tap-in.
Rennes goalkeeper Abdoulaye Diallo cut a frustrated figure as he sharply saved from Neymar, while Mbappe had a goal ruled out for offside, but PSG saved their best for shortly before half-time.
A Rennes corner was scrambled to the edge of the box, where Verratti picked out a brilliant pass wide for Neymar, who drifted infield and played Di Maria in down the left channel.
From there, one-touch mastery saw Di Maria sweep across the box for Mbappe, who set the ball back to Neymar arriving unchecked for the final flourish.
Bourigeaud converted clinically from the spot after substitute Thiago Motta had handled, the veteran not enjoying an eight-minute spell on the pitch which soon saw him withdrawn injured.
Rennes gallantly, and perhaps foolishly, suddenly pressed forward in attempts to keep their campaign alive, but it only allowed PSG to pick them off twice more.
Mbappe was given acres on the right to find Di Maria, who worked onto his left from 20 yards and swept into the bottom-right corner.
And Mbappe also had a second when Neymar drove through the middle before feeding Di Maria on the right, who played inside for the 19-year-old to convert – the €222million number 10 coming millimetres from a hat-trick soon afterwards as PSG began 2018 with a result that sounded an ominous warning for their domestic rivals this year.