Filipino boxer John Riel Casimero has blasted Cuban opponent Guillermo Rigondeaux for "always running" as he successfully defended his WBO bantamweight title by split decision on Saturday.

Former three-division champion Rigondeaux was looking to topple Casimero and frustrated the Filipino with his constant movement in Carson.

Casimero could only land 47 punches in an underwhelming fight but that was marginally enough to edge Rigondeaux on split decision, winning 115-113, 112-116, 117-111.

"My expectation is knockout. I wanted a knockout," Casimero said after the bout. "I tried to do my best to knock him out but Rigondeaux was always running and running.

"I’m focused on [the] knockout but Rigondeaux was always running and no fighting."

In the lead-up to the fight, the Filipino had spoken about knocking out the Cuban in three rounds.

Casimero was seen at times during the fight dropping his gloves out of frustration, demanding Rigondeaux engage.

Rigondeaux did connect on counter-punches as he attempted to tire Casimero who opted not to chase and was unable to unleash his power.

The uneventful bout led to boos from the Carson crowd, although the decision was tight and Rigondeaux defended his tactics.

"God gave me those skills, and that's how I display them," Rigondeaux said.

Manchester City manager Josep Guardiola has brushed off debate around the club's spending insisting it is relative to ambition.

City landed Jack Grealish for £100 million from Aston Villa in the off-season and have been heavily linked with a big-money move for Tottenham's Harry Kane.

In 2020, City purchased Ferran Torres from Valencia for £20m, Nathan Ake from Bournemouth for £40m and Ruben Dias from Benfica for £62m, with their total off-season transfer expenditure reaching almost £144m.

Guardiola pointed to the fact the club sold players to the region of £97m last off-season, while they have again made money selling peripheral players such as Ivan Ilic, Jack Harrison and Lukas Nmecha.

"I said last year that we couldn’t spend £100m," Guardiola told The Guardian.

"We have bought Jack Grealish because we sell for £60m, so in the end we have spent £40m. Otherwise, we cannot do it."

City's spending comes amid Paris Saint-Germain's off-season flurry of transfer activity which has seen the French powerhouse land Lionel Messi, Achraf Hakimi, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos and Georginio Wijnaldum.

Chelsea have also this week completed a bumper deal for Romelu Lukaku for £97.5m from Internazionale, having previously shown strong interest in a lucrative move for Borussia Dortmund Erling Haaland.

"Each club has its own reality, its own history," Guardiola said. "And every owner of every club decides how he wants to live.

"Our owners do not want to benefit, they want to reinvest in the team. There is Chelsea with [Roman] Abramovich and our club with Sheikh Mansour.

"They want to be in this world, they want to be buying into football. What is the problem?"

Guardiola also eluded to the potential signing of Kane when he said: "I don’t know if we will sign a striker; that depends."

Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris has backed Harry Kane's professionalism amid intense speculation linking the forward with a move to Sunday's Premier League opponents Manchester City.

City manager Josep Guardiola has declared his desire to sign Kane, who had requested Spurs allow him to leave late last season.

The situation has dragged on with no clarity ahead of Sunday's meeting between the two sides to open their Premier League campaigns.

Kane only returned to Tottenham training late this week after a delayed break following Euro 2020 following by a period in isolation.

"Harry is a professional and he is here with a smile," Lloris told The Guardian. "There is a situation in the air, we can not hide that, but it belongs to him and the club.

"I’m just focused on the team, and if the manager needs him he will be professional."

Lloris reiterated the message that the group was focused on one direction, with Kane's situation not affecting their preparations for the new season.

"The priority is the team, the start of the season, and the rest we try to separate," 34-year-old Lloris said.

"The most important for me as the captain and a player is to see my teammates going in the same direction, together. But we are in a period that a lot of things can happen.

"It is also the message from the manager, he just wants players focused on training sessions and focused on the competition, and then we will see what will happen.

"As a player, a teammate, I have no words to say. It belongs to the club and Harry to find a solution."

Top seed Daniil Medvedev will face Reilly Opelka in the National Bank Open final after the American stunned Stefanos Tsitsipas in a three-set classic in Saturday's semi-finals.

World number 32 Opelka fought back from a set down in Toronto to knock out favoured third seed Tsitsipas in two hours and 32 minutes.

The 23-year-old American triumphed 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4, booking a spot in his first ATP Masters 1000 final.

Opelka sent down 17 aces but also hit 27 groundstroke winners in the shock victory over 2021 Australian Open semi-finalist Tsitsipas who had beaten in-form Casper Ruud in the quarters.

"I played great," Opelka said in his on-court interview. “These courts suit my game, it is no coincidence that John Isner is in the other semi-final.

"Stefanos has definitely improved his returning. Come 5-5 in the first set, a lot of balls started to come back. He is a thinker and has a high tennis IQ, so it was expected, but that is what separates him from the rest of the pack."

Opelka was aided by an excellent first serve percentage of 72 per cent, winning 62 of 81 points when he made his first serve.

Both first two sets went to tiebreaks, with Tsitsipas failing to generate a break point until the third set. Opelka made the first break of the match in the seventh game of the third set and held serve twice after to seal victory.

World number two Medvedev cruised into the decider with a commanding win over John Isner in less than an hour.

Medvedev, who was runner-up in Toronto in 2019, won 6-2 6-2 over the big-serving American, with the match totaling 54 minutes.

Isner could only manage four trademark aces for the match, while the Russian had 11 and broke the American four times from seven opportunities.

Karolina Pliskova will face unseeded Italian Camila Giorgi in the National Bank Open final after beating top seed Aryna Sabalenka in the last four.

An intriguing semi-final pitted two of the favourites against one another in Montreal and it was Pliskova, the fourth seed, who came out on top 6-3 6-4.

The Wimbledon finalist broke early in the first and then clinched the set on Sabalenka's serve, too, although she was made to work a little harder in the second.

Pliskova fell behind in the seventh game, but she responded by winning three straight games to wrap up victory.

"It's an amazing feeling to be in another final this year," Pliskova said.

"I think I was super solid today. I just did everything what I was supposed to do to win this match, played smart.

"My serve was pretty good, I have to say."

Indeed, the Czech landed 71 per cent of her first serves in – with 10 aces to two double faults – helping her to win 69 per cent of her service points.

World number 71 Giorgi progressed to the decider with a three-set win over Jessica Pegula in two hours and 11 minutes.

The 6-3 3-6 6-1 win means the Italian qualified for her first career WTA 1000 final.

Giorgi had toppled seventh seed Petra Kvitova, ninth seed Elise Mertens and 15th seed Cori Gauff on her route to the decider.

Russell Henley's pursuit of his first PGA Tour title in four years remains on track after a third round 69 kept him in the lead, three strokes clear at the Wyndham Championship on Saturday.

Henley, who held a four-shot lead at the halfway mark, carded a one-under-69 highlighted by an eagle on the 15th hole, before bogeying the 18th at Sedgefield Country Club.

World number 54 Henley sunk a 33-foot eagle putt for his eagle in a stable round which included two bogeys and one birdie.

The American is ahead of Tyler McCumber who moved into outright second with a round of four-under-66 buoyed by three birdies on his front nine to be 12 under.

McCumber landed a 53-foot putt for birdie on the 11th hole as he launched into contention.

South African Branden Grace and Roger Sloan stormed up the leaderboard, both carding rounds of six-under-64 to be tied for third with 11 under.

The pair are alongside Kevin Kisner, Kevin Na, Scott Piercy and Rory Sabbatini at 11 under. Sloan's 54-hole of 199 is a career low for the Canadian.

Australian Adam Scott also shot a six-under-64 to move up to 10 under, level with a number of players including former Wyndham winner Webb Simpson who had an up-and-down day.

Simpson was joint second at the halfway mark but his third round included a triple bogey on the 14th in a dramatic run of five holes on his back nine which included three birdies and a bogey as well.

Carlo Ancelotti described Karim Benzema as the "complete player" after he inspired a 4-1 victory at Alaves in Real Madrid's first game of the LaLiga season.

Benzema scored twice either side of a volley from Nacho, before Vinícius Junior headed in the last of four second-half goals for Madrid in their first competitive game since Ancelotti returned to the club.

Joselu had made it 3-1 from the penalty spot just after Benzema's second goal, but Los Blancos made an impressive start to their bid to regain the title.

Benzema has scored 17 LaLiga goals this year, a tally only bettered by Lionel Messi (23), and he appeared to thrive on wearing the captain's armband with Sergio Ramos having joined Paris Saint-Germain.

Madrid boss Ancelotti feels the France striker has matured into a magnificent all-rounder player.

He said: "Benzema is the completion of the team, reading the situations of the match very well. He is a player I think is not enough to call a forward.

"He is a very complete player. Now he is more complete than five years ago."

Gareth Bale started his first game in the Spanish top flight since June 2020 after a loan spell with Tottenham last season, while Eden Hazard caused Alaves problems after he was also named in the side.

Bale scored in the 2014 Champions League final victory over Atletico Madrid during Ancelotti's first spell at Madrid, but fell out of favour under Zinedine Zidane and there appeared to be no way back for him after he famously held up a 'Wales, golf, Madrid' flag.

Ancelotti is unsure whether the Wales captain has more desire to play for the club now, but says the forward has plenty to offer.

"I do not know if he is more committed than other years, because I was not there," he said. "Bale is going to improve because his condition is not optimal yet, like everyone else's. Everyone can improve."

Madrid have not been beaten in their opening game of a LaLiga campaign since 2008, winning nine and drawing four of their first games since then.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino insists he did not hear the jeers directed at Kylian Mbappe before and during Saturday's 4-2 Ligue 1 win over Strasbourg.

Mbappe – making his 150th Ligue 1 appearance – was a leading light for PSG at the Parc des Princes, getting an assist for Julian Draxler and also finding the net via a massive deflection off Ludovic Ajorque in the first half.

He was a regular threat to the Strasbourg defence but will likely be frustrated not to have added more goals as he was denied by Matz Sels twice in the second period.

Despite consistently being the biggest danger in a PSG side that faded badly in the second half and saw their 3-0 lead cut to 3-2, Mbappe was targeted by certain sections of the crowd.

The France international is into the final year of his contract at the club, and although president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said Mbappe had no reason not to extend his deal following the signing of Lionel Messi, an agreement still eludes PSG as Real Madrid circle.

However, Pochettino is convinced Mbappe remains utterly focused.

 

"Kylian is focused on our goals. He did well and I am very happy with his performance. He must continue like this," said Pochettino.

"I didn't hear the whistles against Mbappe."

Earlier in the evening it was all cheers for the fans in the Parc des Princes, which welcomed a capacity crowd for the first time since February 2020. Those in attendance got their first glimpse of Messi following his arrival from Barcelona.

Messi and his fellow new signings – including former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos – were presented on the pitch before the game to a raucous ovation, though neither of those two actually played.

Pochettino wished he could have joined in the celebrations.

"It was a great day for the PSG family, there was an amazing atmosphere," Pochettino said.

"I was not present during the presentation of the signings, but the feedback we got was that it was incredible.

"All players need to feel this affection from the fans. I want to congratulate the whole club again. We experienced something moving. I would have preferred to be outside the changing rooms to experience this.

"It's always nice to see our supporters up close. Football is different with the public. A year and a half later, it feels good."

Liverpool have condemned an "offensive and inappropriate" chant heard during their Premier League win over Norwich City on Saturday.

The homophobic chant, which could clearly be heard on television coverage of the match, appeared to be aimed at Norwich's on-loan Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour.

Liverpool's LGBTQ+ fan group, Kop Outs!, highlighted the issue on social media.

"Great result today marred by homophobic chanting by some of our fans targeting Chelsea loanee Billy Gilmour," the group posted.

"If you can't support without resorting to bigoted nonsense, you don't understand YNWA [you'll never walk alone]."

The club have previously criticised airings of the same chant and shared the post.

Liverpool added: "The chant is offensive and inappropriate – a message we have repeatedly communicated alongside Kop Outs. 

"We urge supporters to remember the inclusive values of the club and to refrain from using it in the future."

Capacity crowds returned to Premier League stadiums this week for the first time since the 2019-20 campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Nice must build on their 4-0 thrashing of Ligue 1 champions Lille, Christophe Galtier demanded after triumphing over his former club.

Galtier led Lille to the title last season, as Les Dogues edged out Paris Saint-Germain.

While PSG have added more remarkable talent to their already world class squad, with the arrivals of Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum, Achraf Hakimi and Gianluigi Donnarumma topped off by the signing of Lionel Messi, Lille have had to contend with the loss of their coach, who left the club to join Nice in the off-season.

Galtier and Lille hardly parted on good terms internally, despite the 54-year-old delivering the club's first title in a decade.

There have also been rumblings of discontent at Nice, with tensions reportedly appearing between Galtier and sporting director Julien Fournier as they aim to bolster the squad.

A disappointing 0-0 home draw to Reims started Galtier's tenure, but Nice put that well behind them with a thrilling showing against the champions on Saturday.

Kasper Dolberg got the ball rolling inside 57 seconds after Amine Gouiri had caused havoc in the Lille defence – that was the earliest Ligue 1 goal scored by the club since April 2013 (32 seconds).

Gouiri then teed up Hichem Boudaoui for a fierce effort four minutes later to make it 2-0. The former ensured Nice were 3-0 up at the break for the first time since October 2014 as he converted a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Dolberg completed the scoring just past the hour, with Gouiri denied a second of his own soon after due to offside.

It was the first time since September 2017 that Lille had conceded four goals in a single home league match and Galtier basked in the achievement.

"It's a great victory," he told Nice's official website.

"We knew that we were going to face a side that has been in place for a certain period of time and that our first match against Reims wasn't good enough.

"Against Reims, we were missing a lot of things. The players did well [against Lille]. It's their victory because they have come a long way."

Asked what it meant to defeat his old side in such an emphatic manner, Galtier explained: "I haven't had the time to reflect on that yet. It's always good to keep your feet firmly on the ground and to remain vigilant after this kind of victory, which seems easy when you look at the score.

"But it's a victory that required a lot of commitment and energy. We can't ease our feet off the pedals throughout the week or allow what we are demanding in training to drop off."

The defeat means Lille are still waiting for their first win of the season. It is the third time they have failed to triumph in either of their opening two matches of a campaign in which they have been defending champions.

Karim Benzema scored twice as Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti enjoyed an emphatic 4-1 win on his return to LaLiga at Alaves.

Ancelotti left Everton to take charge of Los Blancos for the second time in June following Zinedine Zidane's departure and the Italian secured three points in his first competitive game back at the helm.

Benzema, captaining the side following Sergio Ramos' departure, scored twice in the second half either side of a strike from Nacho at Estadio Mendizorroza on Saturday.

Joselu pulled a one back from the penalty spot before Vinicius Junior added a last-gasp fourth goal as Madrid, with Gareth Bale making his first LaLiga start since June 2020, issued an early statement of intent. 

Luis Rioja cut in from the right and tested Thibaut Courtois with a left-foot drive in a bright start for Alaves, but Madrid soon stamped their authority on the game.

Eden Hazard curled wide from just outside the penalty area and Bale was also off target as Madrid applied the pressure.

Benzema demonstrated exquisite control prior to bending a measured strike narrowly wide of the far post before Rioja poked an effort onto the roof of the net against the run of play.

France striker Benzema was not to be denied in the third minute of the second half, drilling home with his right foot after Hazard cleverly touched Lucas Vazquez's cutback into his path.

Los Blancos were dominant and soon doubled their advantage, the classy Luka Modric conjuring up trickery and an pinpoint cross for Nacho, who volleyed in from close range as Alaves were caught out by a short corner.

Madrid had seemingly only just finished celebrating when Courtois brought down John Guidetti and Joselu gave Alaves hope from the spot with 65 minutes gone.

The hosts were never likely to mount a comeback, though, and Vinicius headed home a cross from new signing David Alaba right at the end.

Paris Saint-Germain had last played in front of a full Parc des Princes on February 29 last year, a 4-0 win over Dijon. It's unlikely many fans in attendance on that day would have contemplated the idea of Lionel Messi being present upon their next visit.

Yet despite Messi not actually being involved, his presence was certainly felt.

The Barcelona great – like the rest of PSG's new signings – was paraded on the pitch before kick-off of Saturday's visit of Strasbourg, simultaneously setting fans' tongues wagging and surely leaving Ligue 1 defenders quaking in their boots, if they weren't already.

As Messi stood there with a big grin on his face, arm around Sergio Ramos of all people, the sheer nonsense of the situation just set in a little more. Previously two pillars of arguably the most famous rivalry in world football, now they're both party to the same 'galactico' project in Paris.

Understandably, the pre-match show helped stir up an incredible atmosphere, and it all seemed to rub off on the players as well, with PSG 3-0 up inside 27 minutes.

But if there was one thing PSG's eventual 4-2 victory suggested, it was that Ramos' arrival is arguably the more important of the two transfers.

After all, Messi wasn't the only one of their soon-to-be first-choice front three absent; Neymar was sat up in the stands next to him, owing to lack of fitness following his Copa America exploits.

But they still had Kylian Mbappe out strutting his stuff, seemingly relishing all eyes being on him, the France superstar tormenting the Strasbourg defence relentlessly with his direct running and astonishing pace.

Perhaps it was a taste of what life might be like at Real Madrid should he choose not to renew in Paris; he was the main man and the star of the show, whereas he'll soon have to share the spotlight with not just Neymar but his old Barcelona pal as well.

That's not to say Mbappe looked anything other than focused on where he was, in what was his 150th Ligue 1 appearance.

 

Soon after Mauro Icardi – another big name, though one who'll likely be reduced to a back-up role – nodded PSG in front in just the third minute, Mbappe carved open the Strasbourg defence with a disguised pass in from the left, though it was ultimately a little too deceptive as it even caught Georginio Wijnaldum flat-footed.

He was then in the thick of the action as PSG went 2-0 up, cutting in from the left and hammering a ferocious effort that went in off Ludovic Ajorque, and Mbappe did much of the damage to make it 3-0, too.

Stepover. Shimmy. Another stepover and then an explosion of pace. He made himself the tiniest bit of space to squeeze a left-footed cross into the danger zone and Julian Draxler was on hand to tap in.

Mbappe somehow failed to add another himself, shooting at Matz Sels twice after the break. The second of which, in the 62nd minute, was a particularly strong opportunity with an expected goals (xG) value of 0.35 – the one he created for Draxler was 0.90.

By that point Strasbourg had already been given some encouragement, with Kevin Gameiro capitalising on the shoddy awareness of Achraf Hakimi and Thilo Kehrer in the 53rd minute to ghost between them and head in.

Then, swiftly after Mbappe's second miss, Ajorque made a mockery of Presnel Kimpembe as he slashed the deficit to one goal with an emphatic header that also left Keylor Navas helpless.

 

For a significant part of the second half, Strasbourg looked the better team. PSG had seemingly become comfortable with their lead and that complacency was being capitalised on by the visitors.

But two yellow cards in quick succession for Alexander Djiku essentially spelled game over for Strasbourg, and PSG made it 4-2 soon after through Pablo Sarabia.

Majeed Waris should have pulled one back, his shot into the side-netting seeing him waste a chance with an xG value of 0.38, making it the worst miss of the day.

 

Mauricio Pochettino's men ultimately survived this scare, but their second-half drop-off will have been a real worry for the head coach and his staff – had Strasbourg got the score back to 3-3, it would have been utterly humiliating.

While this was of course a PSG without Marquinhos, their defensive frailty and seeming arrogance when thinking the game was won had Ramos' signing looking like an absolute necessity.

Primoz Roglic started the defence of his Vuelta a Espana title in style as he took the lead after a short time trial on stage one.

Fresh from claiming Slovenia's first Olympic gold medal in any cycling discipline, Roglic – who has triumphed at the Vuelta in the previous two years – was the last man out in Burgos.

The 31-year-old Jumbo-Visma rider set a blistering pace around the 7.1kilometre route, which he completed in just eight minutes and 32 seconds – six seconds clear of nearest challenger Alex Aranburu (Astana-PremierTech).

Aranburu had held top spot for much of the stage, but has to settle for second heading into stage two. Jan Tratnik, of Bahrain-Victorious, rounds out the top three, trailing Roglic by eight seconds.

Roglic was forced to abandon the Tour de France after a brutal first week but headed to Spain on a high following his success in Japan, and is aiming to become the first rider to win the Vuelta three times in a row since Roberto Heras in 2005. He is also bidding to draw level with Tony Rominger and Alberto Contador on three triumphs should he keep hold of the red jersey.

"It's a beautiful start, I'm enjoying it, and we hopefully can enjoy it as a team in the upcoming days," said Roglic.

Giro d'Italia champion Egan Bernal skipped the Tour and is considered Roglic's prime challenger, but the Colombian suffered on Saturday and lost 27 seconds to his rival.

Tom Piddock, who won a mountain biking gold for Great Britain in Tokyo, made his grand tour debut for INEOS Grenadiers, clocking in 36 seconds slower than Roglic.

"That was horrible. I've basically had three weeks of holidays," said Piddock.

STAGE RESULT

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 0:08:32
2. Alex Aranburu Deba (Astana-Premier Tech) +0:06
3. Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious) +0:08
4. Tom Scully (EF Education-Nippo) +0:10
5. Josef Cerny (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +0:10

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 0:08:32
2. Alex Aranburu Deba (Astana-Premier Tech) +0:06
3. Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious) +0:08

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 20
2. Alex Aranburu Deba (Astana-Premier Tech) 17
3. Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious) 15

King of the Mountains

1. Sepp Cuss (Jumbo-Visma) 3
2. Sep Vanmarcke (Israel Start-Up Nation) 2
3. Rui Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates) 1

What's next?

The Vuelta rolls from Caleruega to Burgos, a 166.7km flat route with a sprint finish, giving the sprinters an early opportunity to shine.

Lionel Messi was in the stands at the Parc des Princes on Saturday to see his new Paris Saint-Germain team-mates make hard work of a 4-2 win over Strasbourg in Ligue 1.

Neither Messi nor Neymar were included in Mauricio Pochettino's squad as they build fitness at the start of the season, although PSG's latest signing was paraded on the pitch alongside Sergio Ramos and their other recruits before the match.

It was Kylian Mbappe who was front and centre once the action got under way, netting the second goal before creating the third for Julian Draxler and the fourth for Pablo Sarabia after Mauro Icardi – surely one of the men to make way in a full-strength XI – had opened the scoring.

Sarabia's goal came following Alexander Djiku's late red card, prior to which Strasbourg threatened to wipe out PSG's lead, hitting back through Kevin Gameiro and Ludovic Ajorque to dampen the party mood a little.

The game had begun amid a raucous atmosphere and there were just 139 seconds on the clock when Icardi met Abdou Diallo's left-wing cross with a fine header, deemed onside following a VAR review.

Strasbourg did not immediately fold, but two deflections in quick succession appeared to put the game beyond them.

First, Mbappe cut inside from the left and arrowed in a shot that was redirected beyond Matz Sels by an unwitting Ajorque, then the France forward went to the byline and his cross looped up off Lucas Perrin for Draxler to tap in.

However, Sels blocked bravely from Mbappe at the start of the second half, allowing Strasbourg to go down the other end and score as former PSG forward Gameiro expertly nodded beyond Keylor Navas.

In a repeat of earlier in the half, Sels then denied Mbappe and Ajorque produced an even better header to prompt real nerves in the home ranks.

But Djiku, already booked, was carded once more for a foul on Icardi, reducing Strasbourg to 10 men and putting PSG back in the ascendancy, with another Mbappe run down the left resulting in a simple finish for Sarabia.

What does it mean? Complacency a concern

PSG were the better side in the first half, but the scoreline flattered them a little. If not for a marginal offside call and a couple of fortuitous deflections, the teams might have headed into the break all square.

So Pochettino would have been worried to see his players seemingly consider the job done as they returned after the interval, allowing Strasbourg to gain a foothold – with 51.5 per cent of the possession in the first 15 minutes of the second half – and almost tear up the script entirely.

Mbappe makes hay

Mbappe had not netted for club or country since before Euro 2020, but he is a dominant force in Ligue 1, now having either scored or assisted in seven consecutive matches in the competition (eight goals, four assists).

The star attraction in the absence of Messi and Neymar, Mbappe had the freedom to play primarily from the left, with 47.6 per cent of PSG's attacks coming down that flank before the break.

Missing Marquinhos

Messi and Neymar were not the only big names in attendance, with Ramos and, notably, Marquinhos also in the stands rather than on the pitch.

And while Mbappe was able to lead the line effectively, the stand-in defenders were less impressive. Strasbourg were allowed to have eight attempts, with both goals coming from crosses – two of three that found visiting players in the PSG area.

What's next?

As PSG fans eagerly await Messi's debut, they next turn their focus to Friday's trip to Brest. Strasbourg host Troyes next Sunday.

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