Neymar will not play for Paris Saint-Germain in next week’s French Cup final against Monaco after a booking in Wednesday’s semi-final saw the Brazilian incur a suspension.
The world’s most expensive player was shown a yellow card not long after coming on as a late substitute in the last-four tie in Montpellier, triggering a one-game ban that had been hanging over him since he was sent off in a Ligue 1 match against Lille last month.
PSG could still appeal the ban, thereby potentially releasing him to play against Monaco in the final at the Stade de France, which will go ahead behind closed doors.
“I would like to understand the head of the guy who made the rule on cards in France!” Neymar reacted on Instagram.
“He deserves to be applauded. What confusion.”
Neymar scored in the shoot-out as PSG beat Montpellier 6-5 on penalties following a 2-2 draw in the semi-finals.
The former Barcelona superstar, who last week signed a contract extension to keep him in Paris until 2025, scored the only goal when PSG beat Saint-Etienne in last season’s final.
PSG will already be without the injured Marco Verratti and the suspended Presnel Kimpembe for the final.
Before that game, Mauricio Pochettino’s side host Reims in Ligue 1 on Sunday.
With two matches remaining they sit three points behind league leaders Lille.
Cesc Fabregas scored a late winner from the penalty spot as Monaco came from two goals down to stun reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 in Ligue 1 on Friday.
Kylian Mbappe had netted a first-half brace, including a penalty, against his former side, taking him to 99 goals for PSG and leaving his current team seemingly on course for a ninth consecutive league win.
But German international Kevin Volland struck twice for Monaco after the break and Fabregas converted from 12 yards in the 84th minute after Abdou Diallo had been sent off for conceding the all-important penalty.
PSG remain clear at the top of Ligue 1, but this result is a major setback for Thomas Tuchel’s team before a crucial Champions League tie against RB Leipzig next week.
“I am more surprised than I am angry,” said Tuchel, who was also disappointed to see further first-half goals for Mbappe and Moise Kean disallowed.
“I saw two totally different halves. First of all we completely controlled the game…and then the second half was completely different. I can only say it is our responsibility.”
Niko Kovac’s Monaco climb up to second in the table, four points behind PSG, but Lille can reclaim second spot and move to within two points of the leaders if they beat Lorient on Sunday.
“If you come back from two down to win 3-2 it is for sure something special, but I don’t want to glorify it too much,” said ex-Bayern Munich coach Kovac.
“We cannot stop and say everything is done. It was a big victory but nothing more.”
PSG have been severely handicapped by injuries and suspensions this season, and Neymar was only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench at kick-off at the Stade Louis II after missing Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers over the last week due to fitness problems.
– Volland stars – Mbappe was back in the starting line-up, however, after missing his club’s last two outings prior to the international break with a hamstring injury.
Facing his former club, with whom he won the Ligue 1 title in 2017, Mbappe burst through to put Paris in front in the 25th minute after being released by Angel Di Maria.
He then found the net again in the 37th minute, converting a penalty awarded for a foul on Rafinha by Youssouf Fofana.
His ninth goal of the season leaves him just one away from a century of goals in a PSG shirt since his arrival from Monaco at the start of 2017/18 in a 180 million-euro ($213m) deal. He even had another goal disallowed just before half-time.
Without their French international striker Wissam Ben Yedder after he tested positive for coronavirus, it was a long way back for Monaco but they reduced the deficit seven minutes after half-time when Gelson Martins set up Volland to score from close in.
Volland then equalised with a tap-in after Fabregas, on as a substitute, had beaten goalkeeper Keylor Navas to a cross.
Worse was to come for the visitors, as Diallo — another former Monaco player — clumsily conceded a penalty and was shown a red card after the referee opted to review the images.
Fabregas made no mistake from the spot, as PSG lost a Ligue 1 game after leading by two goals for just the second time since the Qatari takeover of the club in 2011.
Earlier Rennes warmed up for their Champions League rematch with Chelsea in the worst possible fashion, going down to a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Bordeaux.
Hatem Ben Arfa scored the only goal of the game against his old club, as Rennes slip to fifth before entertaining Chelsea in a game they realistically need to win to keep any hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16 alive.
Monaco announced on Sunday the departure of coach Robert Moreno after barely six months in charge, with former Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac expected to take over at the Ligue 1 club.
Ex-Spain coach Moreno, 42, was appointed in December after Leonardo Jardim was dismissed by Monaco for the second time in just over a year.
“The club has launched a procedure leading to the departure of Robert Moreno. The Spanish coach was informed of this in a preliminary meeting on Saturday,” Monaco said in a statement.
“Our paths parted sooner than expected but I would like to thank Robert Moreno for accepting the challenge,” added club vice-president Oleg Petrov.
“Together with his staff, Robert has done his utmost to improve the team, with enthusiasm and dedication of his time. I wish him all the best for the future.”
Monaco finished ninth in Ligue 1 this past season, failing to qualify for European football as the 2019-20 campaign was suspended in March and then declared over due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to club sources, former Croatia international Kovac will be appointed as Moreno’s successor. Kovac, 48, was sacked by Bayern in November, months after leading them to a league and cup double.
Monaco’s exciting young Nigerian striker Henry Onyekuru is to spend the rest of the season on loan at Galatasaray, the Ligue 1 club announced on Sunday.
It will be the 22-year-old’s second loan spell in Turkey as he shone for Galatasaray last season when he was still at English club Everton.
He scored 14 goals in 35 appearances for Galatasaray who went on to win the Turkish championship.
Monaco, who signed the Nigerian for 17 million euros during the summer, have not included an ‘option to buy’ clause in the loan, suggesting that Onyekuru remains a part of their long-term strategy.
Since his arrival in the principality, Onyekuru, who joined Monaco on a five-year deal, figured in just four matches under Leonardo Jardim who was sacked just after Christmas and replaced by ex-Spain boss Roberto Moreno.
Leonardo Jardim has been fired by Monaco just over a year since he was previously sent packing, a source close to the club told AFP on Saturday.
To general surprise the 45-year-old was reappointed in January, just three months after he was sacked and replaced by Thierry Henry, who oversaw a disastrous tenure.
French sports newspaper L’Equipe are reporting Jardim will be replaced by the Spaniard Marcelino, who led Valencia to the Spanish Cup before getting fired for rowing with the club’s owners in September.
Other sources are suggesting former Spain coach Robert Moreno is also in the frame.
Jardim found himself again facing mounting scrutiny in his second spell after a humbling home defeat by Lille in the French League Cup in mid-December.
In their next match however Monaco thrashed the same opposition 5-1 in the league.
The Portuguese originally landed himself in the spotlight in September as Monaco picked up just three points from their opening six games despite a summer outlay of 135 million euros ($150 million).
Five wins in six helped douse the flames but the abject display against Lille stoked fresh concerns about the direction the club, currently in seventh in Ligue 1, was heading.
In happier days Jardim led Monaco to the French title and a Champions League semi-final in 2017, before the club’s Russian owners cashed in.
They sold Kylian Mbappe to Paris Saint-Germain, Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea, Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy to Manchester City, Fabinho to Liverpool, Thomas Lemar to Atletico Madrid, Djibril Sidibe to Everton and Falcao to Galatasaray.
Newly-appointed Montreal Impact boss Thierry Henry vowed to learn from the mistakes of his disastrous reign at Monaco on Monday but called for patience as he attempts to revive the fortunes of the struggling Major League Soccer outfit.
Speaking at his first press conference since his appointment by Montreal last week, the 42-year-old former France and Arsenal superstar insisted he was ready for the challenge despite his troubled tenure with Ligue 1 side Monaco.
Henry was sacked by Monaco in January after only 100 days in charge as the team nosedived into the relegation zone following his appointment, with just five wins in 20 matches.
“For me, the way I put it is always [either] you win or you learn, and I learned a lot there,” Henry said of his spell at Monaco.
“It’s about coming back, always. You have to get up and be in front of what happens. The only mistake that you can make is not learning from what happened.”
Henry, who was also an assistant coach to Belgium during the country’s 2018 World Cup campaign, where they finished third, said his experiences were part of his evolution as a manager.
“You have to start somewhere,” he said of his time with Belgium and Monaco.
“I learned a lot about myself. It’s about fighting. This isn’t just my story but the story of everyone in life. Everyone falls. It’s about how you get up.”
The Impact’s sporting director Olivier Renard said Henry beat out several candidates under consideration for the Montreal position.
After meeting Henry in mid-October, it was decided then that he should take on the job of rebuilding the foundering franchise, he said.
Henry, who spent four years in MLS with the New York Red Bulls at the tail-end of his playing career, meanwhile urged Montreal’s fans to be patient, saying success won’t come overnight.
“We have a fresh start and we’re going to move forward to rebuild the team,” Henry told reporters.
“We know the direction we want to go, but you can’t build a new team in two months, or three months or even a year,” he said. “We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, and it will require patience.
“We also need to win back the support of fans. I think this is very important because fans and the city, the community need to feel a connection to the team. It’s up to us to bring them back on our side.”
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.
Wissam Ben Yedder fired Monaco out of the Ligue 1 mire on Sunday with a stoppage time winner that earned an entertaining 3-2 win over Rennes.
Yedder pounced on Keita Balde’s flick two minutes into added time to lash home a powerful left-foot finish and send Leonardo Jardim’s side up to 14th just as it looked as if a handball spotted by VAR had denied them the three points.
Balde thought he had won the game for Monaco seconds before when he capitalised on a dreadful error by Rennes goalkeeper Romain Salin to roll the ball into an empty net, but the video assistants to spot him controlling the ball with his hand.
Monaco started the weekend in 16th but dropped into the relegation playoff places before Sunday’s match. It seemed they would stay there once Balde’s goal was rightly ruled out.
The late goal means they are now level on 12 points with Toulouse, Amiens and 12th-placed Rennes, who have not won a match since August.
Monaco had taken the lead through Ben Yedder’s smart finish after just two minutes. A wonderful solo run and finish from Faitout Maouassa and Adrien Honou’s tap-in put Rennes ahead just after the break.
Monaco levelled after the away side gifted the ball to Cesc Fabregas. The Spaniard rolled in Islam Slimani to score in the 57th minute.
Earlier, Claude Puel continued his perfect start as Saint-Etienne coach. Denis Bouanga’s stoppage time penalty at Bordeaux launched Puel’s side into the top half of the table.
The 10-time French champions were second-bottom in Ligue 1 after their home loss to Metz late last month but have won three straight, the last two under Puel. Their turnaround in form, which includes victory over local rivals Lyon in Puel’s first match, has moved them to ninth, ahead of 10th-placed Marseille’s clash with Strasbourg.
Bordeaux meanwhile missed the chance to move into the Champions League positions with their second home loss the bounce.
Monaco have signed Nigeria international Henry Onyekuru on a five-year-deal from Everton, the French club announced on Monday.
“I’m very happy to join a great club like AS Monaco. I will give everything to improve and help the club to have a great season. I look forward to meeting my teammates,” the 22-year-old told Monaco’s website.
Onyekuru, who has made 11 appearances for the Super Eagles, originally joined the Premier League side in 2017 but has spent the two past campaigns on-loan with Anderlecht and Galatasaray.
The winger scored 14 league goals in Turkey last season and reportedly joins the Ligue 1 outfit for 17 million euros ($19 million).
Leonardo Jardim’s options in front of goal could be strengthened further with Sevilla’s France forward Wissam Ben Yedder being linked with a move to Stade Louis II.
However former club captain Radamel Falcao and Portugal wide-man Rony Lopes have been linked with moves away from the Principality.