BY Kevin Mapasure
Warriors midfielder Marshall Munetsi produced a spellbinding and well-polished performance in his first start for French League 1 side Reims to put global superstar Neymar in the shade in his team’s clash against Paris Saint Germaine on Wednesday night.
Munetsi was the star of the show as Reims defeated PSG 2-0 in their own backyard, with the former Orlando Pirates midfielder setting up the opening goal for Hassane Kamara with a brilliantly whipped cross towards the hour mark for the forward to nod home.
After receiving a pass, Munetsi first dribbled past Brazil star Neymar, before sending a sumptuous cross for the alert striker to steer it into the back of the nets.
Munetsi’s performance was not just about the goal as he bossed the midfield, leaving Neymar, Ander Herera and Angel Di Maria spellbound.
This was the first time he was named in the starting 11, having only made late substitute appearances as he was eased into the team following an injury at the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
He made three five-minute appearances for Reims against Nantes, Lille and Monaco and Wednesday night was his big night in more ways than one.
Following Reims’ 2-0 victory, Get French Football News, used their Twitter handle to heap praise on the 23-year-old.
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“SDR (Stade de Reims) grab a famous victory at the Parc des Princes with 23-year-old midfielder Marshall Munetsi running the show,” the media outlet tweeted.
France Football described him as the best player on the pitch in the victory over Thomas Tuchel’s league leaders.
“Arriving from South Africa and more specifically Orlando Pirates, the Zimbabwean had not yet had the opportunity to show himself,” France Football wrote.
“It’s done, and in what way! Covering every blade of grass, he finished the match with five tackles, the best total of the match, six interceptions and won 11 duels.”
Munetsi also completed 30 of his 25 attempted passes with a completion rate of 86%.
Another publication Lequipe gave Munetsi a rating of eight out of 10 underlining his remarkable show on a night PSG were widely expected to notch up three more points. He put up another man of the match performance when he helped the Warriors negotiate their tricky preliminary round 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Somalia at the National Sports Stadium as Zimbabwe overturned a first leg deficit to win the tie and progress to the group stage.