Argetine midfielder Angel Di Maria scored his signature full-moon curved free-kick from 25 meters 12 minutes after he came off the bench, putting the 9th Trophee des Champions right at Paris Saint-Germain’s fingertips at the Shenzhen Universiade Center in Longgang District on Saturday.
The Parisian team came back to win 2-1 against Rennes thanks to the 73rd minute winner of Di Maria and a 57th minute goal of Kylian Mbappe assisted by Pablo Sarabia, the club’s new signing from Sevilla.
Though displaying dominance in the first half, PSG couldn’t manage to break through the defense of Rennes and missed several attempts in the box.
The 12th minute of the first half offered an up-and-down experience for PSG, when Thilo Kehrer, the team’s 22-year-old German center-back, hit the crossbar with a header during a set-piece, and then, just couple of seconds later, they conceded a goal to Rennes striker Adrien Hunou.
The 2019 Trophee des Champions is the 7th consecutive piece of silverware PSG has gained at the same tournament and also the 40th title the team has won overall. It is also considered the curtain raiser for the 2019-20 season of Ligue 1 Conforama.
“The team can learn through the match what they need to fix in preparation for the new season, yet the victory is still a good start to fuel us with hope,” concluded Thomas Tuchel, head coach of PSG, at a post-match conference Saturday.
It’s the second time that the tournament, held on a yearly basis between the league winners and Coupe de France winners, has been held in Shenzhen. The Ligue de Football Professional, Federation Francaise de Football and the Shenzhen Kaisa Culture and Sports Group signed an agreement last year to jointly hold Trophee des Champions in Shenzhen.
Starting July 24, PSG kicked off an 11-day China tour.
China has been chosen as the only destination for the team’s summer tour this year.
Compared with last year, when Kylian Mbappe and Edison Cavani didn’t travel to China with the team as a result of the World Cup, the squad, most of which arrived July 24, stayed in town longer and got in touch with local soccer enthusiasts at a couple of events, such as open trainings, fan meetings, landmark tours and community events.
Players called-up by their national teams for the finals of Copa America and African Cup of Nations joined the main squad for Saturday’s match July 31.
“We are happy to be back in Shenzhen and to have more chances to get in touch with the local fans. The local organizer has done a great job as a host, offering us great convenience in preparing for the coming matches,” said Scherrer Maxwell, the official ambassador of PSG, at an open training session July 24.
On the afternoon of July 31, Brazilian center-back Thiago Silva, who is captain of PSG, German-Cameroonian forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Mouting and Argentine midfielder Leandro Paredes met up with autistic children from the Shenzhen Aite Orchestra at Raffles Shenzhen. They drew pictures with the children using crayons and listened to a performance given by the orchestra.
The team also played two games in the inaugural International Super Cup, losing 6-7 to Internazionale Milano on penalty shots in Macao on July 27 and winning 3-0 against Sydney FC in Suzhou on July 30.
Paris Saint-Germain players celebrate after winning the Trophee des Champions in Shenzhen on Saturday. Photos by Liu Xudong
Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe fights for the ball against Rennes during their match in Shenzhen on Saturday. Photos by Liu Xudong