Neymar’s punishment for being one of five players sent off following a brawl at the end of Paris Saint-Germain’s defeat to Marseille will be revealed on Wednesday, the French Football League (LFP) said Monday.
The world’s most expensive footballer was shown the red card in stoppage time of the 1-0 loss at the Parc des Princes alongside teammates Layvin Kurzawa and Leandro Paredes, as well as Marseille’s Dario Benedetto and Jordan Amavi.
Neymar insisted Alvaro Gonzalez called him a “monkey” in a series of furious tweets late on Sunday after he was dismissed for slapping the Marseille defender on the back of the head.
“Look at the racism. That’s why I hit him,” Neymar, who was returning from coronavirus quarantine, said as he left the pitch. Gonzalez later denied making a racist comment.
“The only regret I have is not hitting this idiot in the face,” Neymar then posted after the game, before replying to a Gonzalez tweet to call him a “racist”.
The LFP’s disciplinary commission, which will decide the punishments, could investigate the Brazilian’s accusations against Gonzalez, who Marseille claim was spat on by Angel Di Maria.
Any racist behaviour carries a maximum suspension of 10 matches.
Spitting directed at another player can lead to a ban of up to six matches.
Kurzawa meanwhile could be suspended for up to seven matches for violent conduct after aiming a punch at opposition full-back Amavi.
Marseille secured a first win over Paris Saint-Germain in 21 matches as the Ligue 1 champions lost 1-0 on Sunday and had Neymar sent off on his return from serving a Covid-19 quarantine.
Florian Thauvin scored the only goal on 31 minutes at the Parc des Princes as Marseille earned a first victory over their bitter rivals since November 2011 in a game which ended with five red cards in injury time.
PSG, who lost the Champions League final to Bayern Munich last month, have now lost their opening two games of a season without scoring for the first time since 1978/79 and the task for Thomas Tuchel’s coronavirus-afflicted side does not get any easier this month.
A frenzied schedule awaits, starting with the visit of Metz in midweek and a trip to Nice next Sunday, and Neymar now faces a suspension for a slap on Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez in an injury-time scuffle that resulted in five red cards.
The Brazilian appeared to accuse his opponent of racism as he followed Layvin Kurzawa and Leandro Paredes down the tunnel after he was sent off following a VAR review.
Argentine striker Dario Benedetto and left-back Jordan Amavi were shown red cards for the visitors.
Marseille are attempting to close the gap on PSG after coming a distant second last season and find themselves with an early six-point advantage over a club that has won the title seven of the past eight years.
After fielding a depleted line-up at Lens on Thursday, Tuchel was able to recall Neymar and Angel Di Maria for a match played in front of around 4,000 supporters in Paris.
However, Kylian Mbappe remained absent after testing positive for Covid-19 on France duty at the start of the week with Mauro Icardi and Marquinhos also still missing.
PSG handed a debut to Italy international Alessandro Florenzi following his arrival on a season-long loan from Roma while Sergio Rico started in goal after rejoining on a long-term deal.
Marseille ‘keeper Steve Mandanda produced a magnificent reflex to keep out an effort from Marco Verratti just a minute in as tempers bubbled over frequently in the capital.
Thauvin, who shone in Marseille’s opening 3-2 win at Brest before the international break, made the breakthrough when he turned in a Dimitri Payet free-kick from point-blank range.
Di Maria found the net for PSG just past the hour but had strayed clearly behind the last defender, and Marseille’s celebrations were cut short in similar fashion moments later when a Benedetto goal was ruled offside.
The Argentine rifled in a rebound after Rico parried from Thauvin, who was controversially adjudged to be in an offside position much to the frustration of Marseille.
PSG’s last goal came in the 3-0 win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League semi-final on August 18, and Neymar poked wide from a Pablo Sarabia cross before the contest turned ugly at the finish.
Dimitri Payet conjured the breakthrough. He drew defenders to him then threaded a clever reverse pass to the darting Dario Benedetto who danced past Baptiste Reynet and coolly slid the ball into the goal.
Three minutes later, Toulouse presented Marseille with a second. Left-back Issiaga Sylla drove a clearance into Valere Germain. The ball bounced to Nemanja Radonjic, who advanced into the penalty area and curled a shot into the net.
Marseille climbed to 25 points from 14 matches, eight behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain but one ahead of Angers. Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne are fourth and fifth on 22. Toulouse remains second from bottom.
Depleted Bordeaux, already deprived of defenders Mexer and Vukasin Jovanovic who were both suspended, midfielder Youssef Ait Bennasser, who could not play because he is on-loan from Monaco, lost centre-back Laurent Koscielny to injury on Sunday morning and winger Jimmy Briand during the warm-up.
Monaco, who had climbed away from the relegation zone with three victories in their previous four league games, took the lead against Bordeaux with a goal by Islam Slimani on 15 minutes.
After that, even though the hosts’ fans fell silent in the first half as part of a protest against their owners, the visitors failed to exploit the makeshift home defence.
Instead, Brazilian Pablo levelled with a powerful header from a corner after 29 minutes.
In the 67th minute, Slimani handled while standing in the wall at a free-kick, conceding a penalty and incurring his second yellow card.
Nicolas de Preville converted the spot-kick to give Bordeaux victory.
“There were a lot of players from the starting XI who were not here,” Bordeaux midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni said.
“This shows the strength of character of our team. Some of them didn’t have much playing time this season. They stood up.”
Later on Sunday, Saint-Etienne drew 0-0 at home against Montpellier as the sides managed just two shots on target.
Marseille’s season suffered another setback Wednesday when they were knocked out of the French League Cup 2-1 at the hands of Monaco, just days after they endured a 4-0 defeat by PSG in Ligue 1.
With just one win in their last seven matches, the pressure is on coach Andre Villas-Boas with a cup exit compounding Marseille’s modest seventh position in the league table which sees them already 11 points behind champions PSG in the title race.
“The first half was disgraceful and we had a big talk at half-time. We said it was not possible and it’s amazing to compare the first half with the second half,” said Villas-Boas.
“We can accept losing to PSG, given their quality but not like this against Monaco.
“I wanted to win this cup, the team as well. It’s a shame as the fans were there for us, from the first to the last minute. Now, we have to give something back to them.”
Despite making seven changes from the side which started the 1-0 win over Nantes last weekend, Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim still had enough firepower to see off Marseille.
Both Monaco’s goals came in the first half.
On-loan striker Jean-Kevin Augustin opened the scoring in the 25th minute from a cross from Ruben Aguilar.
Aguilar added the second goal five minutes from the interval.
Marseille grabbed a consolation in the 77th minute when Benjamin Lecomte put through his own goal.
There will be no let up for Marseille this weekend when they welcome third-placed Lille to the Stade Velodrome.
Andre Villas-Boas endured a miserable return to football on Saturday as his Marseille side slumped to a 2-0 home defeat by Reims in their Ligue 1 opener.
The former Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham manager is back coaching for the first time since an acrimonious departure from Shanghai SIPG in 2017, but saw second-half goals from Boulaye Dia and Suk Hyun-jun sink Marseille at the Velodrome.
Villas-Boas has been given the task of returning OM to the Champions League for the first time since 2013, after taking over the reins from Rudi Garcia.
But on Saturday’s evidence he faces an extremely difficult job with a team who finished fifth last season to miss out on European qualification altogether.
The 41-year-old named close-season arrivals Dario Benedetto and Alvaro Gonzalez on the bench, with France attacker Florian Thauvin missing through injury.
The Portuguese coach saw his team make a laboured start, failing to manage a single shot on target in the first half, with goalkeeper Steve Mandanda forced into fine saves to deny Moussa Doumbia and Dia.
The hosts finally called visiting ‘keeper Predrag Rajkovic into action seven minutes after the restart, with the Serbian collecting Dimitri Payet’s tame effort.
Marseille midfielder Kevin Strootman rattled the crossbar in the 57th minute, but Reims deservedly found a breakthrough shortly afterwards as Dia played a neat one-two with Tristan Dingome and drilled the ball over the advancing Mandanda.
Argentine international striker Benedetto was handed a Ligue 1 debut with 17 minutes remaining, but failed to make an impact as Reims substitute Suk instead ran clear at the other end to wrap up the three points in the final minute of normal time.
On Friday, Cesc Fabregas was controversially sent off after a VAR review as Monaco were brushed aside 3-0 by an impressive Lyon in the opening game of the season.
Reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain have left out the world’s most expensive player Neymar for their first match against Nimes on Sunday, admitting talks over a possible move away for the Brazilian are “more advanced”.
Marseille have signed Argentina forward Dario Benedetto from Boca Juniors on a four-year deal, the Ligue 1 outfit announced on Monday.
Benedetto, 29, who has made five international appearances since his debut in 2017, has reportedly cost the French club 16 million euros ($17.9 million).
He scored 39 goals in 63 matches in three years, twice winning the league for Argentine giants Boca after spells with Tijuana and Club America in Mexico and Gimnasa, Arsenal and Defensa in his home country.
Mario Balotelli showed off a new goal celebration on Sunday as he took a selfie video with his Marseille teammates and posted it on social media during their 2-0 win over Saint-Etienne.
The Italian scored his fourth goal in six Ligue 1 games since joining Marseille from Nice in January by hooking home Florian Thauvin’s 12th-minute corner with an excellent acrobatic volley.
“Balotelli takes the pressure, he takes the limelight. He reminds me of (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic and he scored an Ibrahimovic goal,” said Saint-Etienne coach Jean-Louis Gasset.
“He has brought back the public, the confidence, and many of his teammates will raise their level of play.”
As he celebrated his volley, Balotelli took a phone from the cameraman behind the goal before filming the video with his laughing teammates and posting it on his Instagram story.
The 28-year-old then carried on playing.
He was not the first player to produce a selfie-based celebration after Roma great Francesco Totti took a picture of himself after scoring against Lazio in the capital-city derby in 2015.
Marseille doubled their advantage nine minutes later through a Thauvin penalty and closed out the win with ease.
Rudi Garcia’s men have now taken 13 points from their last five league matches to leapfrog Saint-Etienne into fourth, just five points adrift of Lyon in the race for the third and final Champions League spot.
Earlier on Sunday, Moussa Dembele scored twice as Lyon thrashed Toulouse 5-1 to strengthen their grip on a top-three spot.
Bruno Genesio’s Lyon, who are also through to the French Cup semi-finals and claimed a 0-0 first-leg draw in the Champions League last 16 against Barcelona, continued their strong season by moving six points clear of fourth-placed Saint-Etienne.
“Often this season, we haven’t been calm under pressure, but against Toulouse, it was a good match,” said Lyon captain Nabil Fekir, whose 21-year-old younger brother Yassin made his Ligue 1 debut as a 79th-minute substitute.
“Playing with my brother was a huge pleasure.”
The home side took less than 10 minutes to break the deadlock at the Groupama Stadium as Memphis Depay fired home a wonderful individual goal.
Mathieu Dossevi levelled for Toulouse on the quarter-hour mark, but the visitors folded after Bertrand Traore restored Lyon’s advantage in the 30th minute.
Nabil Fekir netted a penalty five minutes later, and former Celtic striker Dembele compounded Toulouse’s misery in the second half.
He powered through the pitiful away defence midway through the second period and slotted a left-footed shot into the corner, before tapping in his 13th goal of the season shortly afterward from Fekir’s low cross.
Traore also had another goal ruled out by VAR for offside, while Toulouse finished the game with 10 men as former Bastia midfielder Yannick Cahuzac was sent off for the 11th time in his Ligue 1 career.
Lille see off Dijon
Lille remain second behind Paris Saint-Germain after Christophe Galtier’s men claimed a narrow 1-0 win over struggling Dijon.
With PSG still 17 points clear at the top with a game in hand, Lille are well-placed to secure a return to the Champions League group stage for the first time since 2012.
Dijon, who remain five points from safety in 19th spot, made life tough for Lille at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy until Wesley Lautoa put through his own net in the 72nd minute.
“We will continue to work to be able to hold off the teams who want to take our place, qualifying for the Champions League is a dream we will try to achieve,” said Lille forward Rui Fonte.
Elsewhere, Patrick Vieira’s Nice boosted their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Europa League as Youcef Atal’s 20th-minute strike was enough to see off Strasbourg 1-0.
Nice are seventh in the table, four points adrift of Marseille.
Marseille’s French Ligue 1 match against Lille was halted on Friday night when a firework exploded on the touchline in the 57th minute just inches away from two players.
The game started with a 10-minute stay-away strike. It was then stopped in the second half after a firework, thrown from the crowd, blew up at the feet of two Marseille players Kevin Strootman and Jordan Amavi.
Referee Amaury Delerue pointed to the player tunnel and the match officials and the visiting Lille team left the field. After kicking the ball around under the gaze of their fans, the Marseille players followed suit.
Following a 31-minute delay, the match was set to resume.
Alain Marseille, one of the league’s refereeing administrators, emerged from the match officials’ changing room to tell French television: “If the safety of the players could not be guarantee…that’s the end of the match.”
The fans stayed hoping that the match would resume and their team turn around a game in which they were again losing. Second-place Lille led 1-0, after Nicolas Pepe scored with a penalty just before half time.
Marseille have won only once since late November. In that time they have been eliminated from three cups and dropped to seventh in the league.
Frustrated fans called a strike for the first 10 minutes of Friday’s game. When the match kicked off swathes of the stands behind the goals at the normally vibrant Velodrome were empty except for banners hung by fan groups.
Most were aimed at owner Frank McCourt and president Jacques-Henri Eyraud. Others picked out coach Rudi Garcia.
At the north end, one banner, signed by ‘Marseille Trop Puissance’, said: “90 minutes of silence for a leadership that wants to kill its own supporters.”
Opposite, the ‘Winners’ wrote their messages in English, presumably for the benefit of McCourt, as American.
“You get scammed, your credibility takes a hit” read one.
“Fire the coach,” said another.
The messages were not all aimed at the club. One bore the name of Emiliano Sala, the former Nantes striker whose plane disappeared over the Channel.
During a similar protest in 2016, Marseille were three goals down by the time the fans came in.
This time when they took their places, the game was still scoreless.
Marseille have completed the signing of Italy striker Mario Balotelli from their French rivals Nice, the Ligue 1 club confirmed on Wednesday.
Balotelli, 28, has signed for the former European champions until the end of the season after being released from the remainder of his contract by Nice and passing a medical at the Velodrome earlier in the day.
The impending arrival of the former AC Milan, Inter and Liverpool forward, who has scored 14 goals in 36 games for Italy, had been confirmed to AFP on Tuesday by sources close to the deal.
Marseille coach Rudi Garcia said this week that signing Balotelli was his “number one priority”.
OM are currently seventh in Ligue 1 and have struggled for goals after failing in an attempt to bring Balotelli to the club last summer.
Their main strikers, Valere Germain and Kostas Mitroglou, have scored just three league goals each so far this season.
Balotelli netted 33 goals in 51 league appearances for Nice over the last two seasons but leaves the Cote d’Azur club without having found the net in the current campaign.
Having not featured for Patrick Vieira’s side since early December, Garcia has already ruled out any prospect of Balotelli starting when Marseille play Lille on Friday evening.
Adil Rami scored one goal and played a big part in another as Marseille bounced back from a run of four straight defeats to beat Dijon 2-0 on an emotional afternoon at the Velodrome on Sunday.
A minute’s silence was held before kick-off in memory of the eight people killed when two buildings collapsed in the southern French city on Monday.
But on the field Rudi Garcia’s team gave their supporters some much-needed cheer as Lucas Ocampos opened the scoring late in the first half and World Cup-winning centre-back Rami sealed the points late on.
The result lifts Marseille up to sixth in the Ligue 1 table, back to within three points of third-placed Montpellier, who beat them 3-0 last weekend.
Marseille’s poor recent run had also seen them lose 2-0 at home to runaway league leaders Paris Saint-Germain, while a 3-1 loss to Lazio in Italy on Thursday condemned last season’s Europa League runners-up to a group-stage exit from that competition.
Dijon were perhaps the perfect opponents through — the Burgundy club started the season well but have not cut the mustard since, and this was a 10th successive league game without a win for them.
The opening goal arrived in stoppage time at the end of the first half as Rami got his head to a Dimitri Payet corner at the near post, and Ocampos stuck out a leg to make sure on the line.
Rami — who did not play a single minute of France’s victorious World Cup campaign — was able to claim the second goal five minutes from time as he nodded in from Kevin Strootman’s overhead kick.
That delighted his girlfriend Pamela Anderson, with the Canadian actor watching on from the stands.
Rami will now join up with the France squad for their upcoming matches against the Netherlands and Uruguay.
PSG will be aiming to make it 13 wins in as many Ligue 1 games this season later as they take on Monaco at the Stade Louis II.
The principality side have still not won under new coach Thierry Henry and lie in the relegation zone.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Bordeaux were held to a goalless draw at home by Caen in their first game since the takeover of the club by an American investment fund was announced.
Rennes midfielder Clement Grenier missed a second-half penalty as their local derby against Nantes finished 1-1.