By Giuseppe Muro at Emirates Stadium
Arsenal know that victory against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday will see them retain the Emirates Cup after Boca Juniors’ hopes of lifting the trophy were ended with a 3-0 defeat against Paris Saint-Germain.
The victory propels PSG from bottom to top of the standings and ahead of Thierry Henry’s Red Bulls, who occupy second spot and face the hosts in Sunday’s main event, on goal difference.
Jean-Eudes Maurice profited from some generous defending to put the Parisians ahead in the opening ten minutes and Guillaume Hoarau took advantage of more slack marking to head the game beyond the reach of Boca just before the interval.
Marcos Ceara’s stunning second-half free-kick sealed an impressive win and ensured an entertaining start to the afternoon.
Attention now shifts to Arsenal and the return of a certain Frenchman.
The glorious July sunshine that bathed Emirates on Saturday was back for the climax of the weekend. And with the newly-laid pitch in pristine condition we were set for a lovely afternoon of football.
Boca had made a slow start against the Gunners on Saturday and were sluggish out of the blocks again today. Only eight minutes were on the clock when Maurice beat goalkeeper Augustin Orien to Anderson Nene’s inswinging corner to poke PSG ahead. A soft goal to concede but the French side were fully deserving of their lead, even at this early stage.
The Parisians were playing with an urgency that was lacking in their defeat to the Red Bulls on Saturday. Orien was called upon to make smart saves from Hoarau and Kevin Gameiro as PSG looked to build on their advantage.
But, knowing that only victory would be enough to give them a chance of taking the trophy back to South America, Boca finally began to impose themselves on the game.
Sergio Araujo found himself with time and space at the back post and, when his goalbound effort was blocked by a last-ditch intervention from Ceara, Nicolas Colazo thumped the rebound over.
Araujo had a wonderful chance to level things up but he fired straight at Alphonse Areola when clean through on goal. It proved a costly miss as PSG went further ahead seven minutes before the break.
More slack Boca marking allowed the giant frame of Hoarau to ghost into the area unmarked and glance home Cristian Chavez’s cross without a Boca player in sight.
That goal effectively ended the game as a contest. Ceara’s spectacular free-kick lit up an otherwise uneventful second period.
Over to you, Arsenal.
Boca Juniors - Augustin Orion, Facundo Roncaglia, Juan Insaurralde, Cristian Erbes, Matias Caruzzo, Cristian Chavez (Lucas Viatri, 78), Leandro Gracian (Diego Rivero, 46), Nicolas Colazo (Orlando Gaona Lugo, 72), Clemente Rodriguez, Pablo Mouche, Sergio Araujo (Nicolás Blandi, 60).
Substitutes not used: Juan Roman Riquelme, Leandro Somoza, Walter Erviti.
Paris Saint-Germain - Alphonse Areola, Ceará, Zoumana Camara, Granddi Ngoyi, Siaka Tiéné, Jean-Eudes Maurice (Loris Arnaud, 79), Clément Chantôme, Nene, Kévin Gameiro, Guillaume Hoarau.
Substitutes not used: Salvatore Sirigu, Christophe Jallet, Loick Landre, Jean-Christophe Bahebeck.
Referee Kristinn JakobssonCopyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source