Neymar Left On Bench For PSG Against Madrid

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar reacts during the French L1 football match against Lille at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on November 22, 2019. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

 

Neymar has been left on the bench for Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League game away at Real Madrid on Tuesday.

The Brazilian played 65 minutes against Lille on Friday after spending six weeks out with a hamstring injury.

Neymar came close to a return to Spain last summer but neither Barcelona nor Real Madrid were able to agree a transfer with PSG.

The French champions have already qualified for the knockout stages and sit top of Group A, five points clear of Madrid, whom they beat 3-0 in Paris in September.

AFP

Diagne Sanctioned By Brugge After PSG Penalty Controversy

Burgge’s Senegalese forward Mbaye Diagne plays the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Club Brugge (Bruges) at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on November 6, 2019. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Senegalese forward Mbaye Diagne has been left out of Club Brugge’s game at Royal Antwerp this weekend after insisting on taking a penalty against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

The 28-year-old prevented Brugge captain Hans Vanaken from taking the spot-kick with PSG leading 1-0 in the 76th minute on Wednesday, before seeing his effort saved by Keylor Navas as the Belgians went on to lose in Paris.

Coach Philippe Clement confirmed on Friday that Diagne would be punished.

“He will not appear in the squad for Antwerp on Sunday and I will decide in the coming weeks or months about a possible return to the team,” said Clement, who gesticulated wildly at Diagne to give Vanaken the ball.

“There will also be a very heavy financial penalty.”

Diagne has scored four goals for Brugge since signing on loan from Galatasaray in the close season.

Brugge sit third in Champions League Group A, 10 points behind leaders PSG, and will need to win their final two games against Galatasaray and Real Madrid to have any chance of reaching the last 16.

Verratti Signs New PSG Deal Until 2024

Paris Saint-Germain’s Italian midfielder Marco Verratti  AFP

 

Italy midfielder Marco Verratti has extended his contract with French champions Paris Saint-Germain until 2024, the club said Wednesday.

Verratti, who turns 27 next week, has won six Ligue 1 titles with PSG since joining the club from Pescara in 2012.

“I think I’m coming to the most important moment of my career. I think at 27 you know a lot, you have more experience… I’m really happy to be able to continue here in Paris,” Verratti told the club’s website.

“Like I’ve said since day one, I feel really good here. I feel that I play for a team with big ambitions. That’s the key thing for me because I want to win as much as possible.”

“Here we have that possibility because we have a great team, we have a great coach,” he added. “We can do great things together.”

Verratti has won four French Cups and the French League Cup on five occasions with PSG, although the club have failed to progress beyond the Champions League quarter-finals under Qatari ownership.

AFP

PSG Thrash Club Brugge In Champions League

Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentine midfielder Angel Di Maria (R) challenges Club Brugge’s Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet during the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Brugge and Paris Saint-Germain’s (PSG) on October 22, 2019 at the Jan Breydel stadium in Bruges. Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

 

Substitute Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain moved a step closer to the Champions League last 16 with a 5-0 victory over previously unbeaten Club Brugge on Tuesday.

The World Cup winner, who has only started four games this season due to thigh and hamstring injuries netted three time in the space of 20 minutes to help PSG go five points clear of Real Madrid, who beat Galatasaray 1-0, in second place in Group A.

Maurco Icardi netted the visitors other two goals as fellow Argentinian Angel Di Maria directly set-up three of his side’s efforts.

For the third time in Europe this season PSG’s Thomas Tuchel was unable to start his attacking trio of suspended Neymar and injured Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.

Brugge coach Philippe Clement, who has guided the club to the top of the Belgian Pro League, was without captain Ruud Vormer as the Netherlands midfielder serves a suspension for a red card he received in the draw at Real.

The visitors claimed an early lead as Di Maria received a long-range ball on the right flank.

The Argentina winger curled in an early cross with the outside of his left foot and Icardi beat Simon Mignolet at his near post after seven minutes.

Champions League debutant Charles De Ketelaere missed a good chance to equalise after half an hour but the 18-year-old failed to worry Keylor Navas.

Icardi had a chance to double the Parisians’ advantage six minutes into the second-half but his effort across goal was well-saved my Mignolet.

 Decisive Di Maria 

Mbappe entered the fray 60 seconds later and instantly dropped deep hungrily looking for possession.

The Ballon d’Or candidate repeated his feats from Friday’s Ligue 1 victory over Nice by scoring and claiming an assist within the final half an hour.

He claimed his first of proceedings with 28 minutes of the game to go after another Di Maria curling cross.

The World Cup winner then set-up Icardi for his fifth in four games less than 60 seconds later.

Mbappe’s second and third goals of the match both came from lovely Di Maria passes as PSG marked their intentions in the competitions with a clinical performance.

The two clubs meet again on November 6 in the French capital with Neymar expected to be sidelined with a hamstring injury picked up on international duty.

AFP

Champions League: Mbappe Set For Role Against Club Brugge

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Olympique de Lyon (OL) on October 7, 2018 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

 

Still fighting for full fitness France World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe will feature for Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League group game at Club Brugge on Tuesday, but will not play 90 minutes according to coach Thomas Tuchel.

The lightening quick 20-year-old forward has been suffering from a thigh strain since early August but came off the bench to score against Nice at the weekend.

“It’s too early for him to play 90 minutes so we need to work out whether we want him to start the match or finish it,” said Tuchel on Monday.

“It’s the same with Edi,” he said referring to Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani, who has had a niggling hip complaint.

Mbappe has tried out his thigh three times in his bid for fitness with cameo appearances at Bordeaux and Galatasaray.

“They have been out for a long time and while others have seized their chance we are stronger now they are back,” said Tuchel.

PSG sit top of their Champions League group with six points while Club Brugge are second on two, with Galatasaray and Real Madrid both on one.

PSG President Keeps Silent At Athletics Corruption Hearing

 

Paris Saint-Germain chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi remained silent during questioning by French prosecutors on Doha’s candidacy to stage the world athletics championships, according to official documents seen by AFP on Monday.

“I exercise my right to silence,” the Qatari replied to each of the 28 questions put to him at the June 11 in Paris.

He was charged in May in connection with Doha’s candidacy to stage the championships.

The Qatari capital lost out to London in 2017 but beat off Eugene and Barcelona for the 2019 edition, which took place at the Khalifa International Stadium between September 27 and October 6.

Al-Khelaifi’s lawyers Francis Szpiner and Renaud Semerdjian told AFP their client had refused to cooperate as “all the useful answers had already been supplied”.

“There were no new elements since the last interview,” they added.

Al-Khelaifi, who is also the boss of Qatari television channel BeIN Sports, was charged in May. He was unable to attend when first summoned for questioning by investigators that month as he was in Qatar for the domestic cup final.

French prosecutors are looking specifically at two payments of $3.5 million (3.18 million euros) in 2011 by Oryx Qatar Sports Investment, a company run by Nasser’s brother Khalid Al-Khelaifi, to a sports marketing firm run by Papa Massata Diack.

Diack’s father Lamine Diack was president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from 1999 to 2015 and a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Injured Neymar Out For Four Weeks

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar looks on during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and OGC Nice at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris.
Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar will be out for four weeks with a hamstring injury he suffered playing for Brazil, the French club said on Monday.

Neymar limped off in the 12th minute on Sunday as Brazil drew 1-1 against Nigeria in a friendly in Singapore.

PSG said that an MRI scan showed that their star player had suffered “a grade two lesion” in his left hamstring.

If he is out until November 11, Neymar will miss four French league matches, including a trip to Marseille on October 27, and home and away Champions League games against Bruges.

The world’s most expensive player had been due to make his champions League return against Bruges next Tuesday after serving a two-match suspension.

This latest in a catalogue of injuries since joining PSG in 2017 came after a promising start to the season with four goals in five Ligue 1 matches.

Ligue One: Icardi Scores First Goal As PSG Cruise Past Angers

Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentine forward Mauro Icardi celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Angers SCO at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on October 5, 2019. Lucas BARIOULET / AFP

 

Mauro Icardi scored his first Ligue 1 goal as Paris Saint-Germain moved five points clear at the top of the table with a 4-0 thrashing of high-flying Angers on Saturday.

The reigning champions had suffered a shock 2-0 loss in their previous home game against Reims, but had no such trouble at the Parc des Princes on this occasion despite their opponents’ surprisingly strong start to the season.

PSG head into the international break totally in control of the title race, although Nantes, who leapfrogged Angers into second on goal difference, could cut the gap to two points when they host Nice later on Saturday.

Neymar’s late strike rounded off a strong individual display as he continued to repair his relationship with the team’s fans after failing in his effort to force through a return to Barcelona.

Tuchel opted to rest Angel Di Maria, as on-loan Inter Milan striker Icardi was rewarded for his first PSG goal in midweek at Galatasaray with a full Ligue 1 debut.

The capital city club remained without the injured Edinson Cavani, while Kylian Mbappe missed out after suffering a setback in his recovery from a thigh problem.

But the first opportunity fell to in-form Angers forward Rachid Alioui, but the Algerian dallied on the ball and home goalkeeper Keylor Navas was able to save with his foot.

The hosts took the lead in the 13th minute, though, as Ander Herrera played in Pablo Sarabia, who cut inside and wrong-footed Ludovic Butelle in the Angers goal to net for the first time since joining PSG from Sevilla in the close-season.

The visitors continued to threaten on the counter-attack, with Navas having to beat away Baptiste Santamaria’s long-range drive.

The game was all but ended as a contest eight minutes before the break, as Neymar and Sarabia combined to give Icardi the simplest of tasks to fire into the roof of the net.

Although Spain international Sarabia scuffed a rebound after his inital shot was cleared off the line just before the hour mark, former Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye was on hand to tap in his first PSG goal.

But there was little respite for Angers, as Neymar launched a one-man mission in his attempt to get on the scoresheet.

The Brazilian was twice denied by Butelle in quick succession, before the goalkeeper produced a brilliant save with his legs when the world’s most expensive player was clean through on goal.

Neymar eventually found a way past Butelle in the final minute, rounding the ‘keeper and slotting into an empty net to complete a straightforward outing for PSG with his fourth goal of the campaign.

AFP

‘I’ll Give My Life To PSG,’ Says Neymar

File Photo: Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Brazilian superstar Neymar pledged Saturday to “give my life to PSG” after his goal kept the French giants top of Ligue 1 with a 1-0 win at Bordeaux.

Neymar, the world’s most expensive footballer, had been strongly linked to a return to Barcelona over a tumultuous summer.

However, in an attempt to win over PSG fans, many of whom have become unconvinced by the player’s attachment to the French capital, Neymar has looked a rejuvenated figure, scoring for a third time this season.

“I’m very happy to be able to help PSG, it’s better with the fans,” he said.

“It’s like with your girlfriend, one moment you’re bad, but with hugs and a lot of love, it’s better.

“I am here to give my life to PSG. They are my team, my goal is to help my club, to continue to score goals.”

On Saturday, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar played together for the first time this season and combined for the only goal in Bordeaux.

Mbappe, who had been out injured since August 25, started on the bench but, with PSG struggling for a breakthrough, came on after an hour.

The Parisian attack immediately gained a more menacing edge.

Both Mbappe, with a shot, and Neymar, with a header, went close before combining to open the scoring for the game’s only goal in the 70th minute.

Mbappe outpaced the Bordeaux defence on the right. His precise low cross presented Neymar with a tap in at the far post.

“The most important thing is that these goals are decisive, in tight matches, that’s why I’m here,” added Neymar.

“It’s obviously a pleasure to link up with Kylian again. He came back with his smile and with his football talent,” he added.

– Mbappe’s Neymar ‘admiration’ –
French World Cup winner Mbappe said he was delighted to link-up again with Neymar although he admits their partnership remains a work in progress.

“There are things that have been said, but we have always had a relationship based on honesty and admiration,” said Mbappe.

The last time Mbappe and Neymar had appeared together was in the French Cup final last April, a match which ended in defeat.

As Bordeaux pressed, Mbappe and PSG began to carve open the home defence.

He burst through on his own, but goalkeeper Benoit Costil anticipated the chip.

Then Costil again reacted quickly, diving at Angel Di Maria’s feet as the Argentine ran onto Mbappe’s angled through ball.

PSG, who had suffered a shock 2-0 loss to Reims on Wednesday, survived a late video review for a potential Bordeaux penalty to recapture first place.

Angers are second in the table after a 1-1 draw with Amiens.

Nantes, also two points off the pace, had briefly moved to the top when they won 1-0 win at Lyon earlier in the day.

Lyon had the best of the chances but conceded the only goal in freakish fashion just before the hour.

As Samuel Moutoussamy broke into the home area, left-back Fernando Marcal slid in and attempted to poke the ball out for a corner. Instead, it struck his other leg and looped over goalkeeper Anthony Lopes and into the goal.

As the home fans whistled their team, the Lyon players appeared increasingly lost, although the brilliance of Nantes goalkeeper Alban Lafont was a major factor in their failure.

For Nantes, it was a first win at Lyon since December 1996.

Monaco’s revival continued when a 4-1 home win over Brest allowed them to move into 12th spot.

Monaco have now taken seven points from their last three league games.

PSG Suffer Shock Home Defeat To Reims

Paris Saint-Germain’s French defender Presnel Kimpembe (2ndL) heads the ball with Reims’ French defender Axel Disasi (3rdL) past Paris Saint-Germain’s Costa Rican Keylor Navas (L) during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Stade de Reims at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on September 25, 2019. Bertrand GUAY / AFP

 

Paris Saint-Germain fell to a shock 2-0 loss to Reims at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday as headers from Hassane Kamara and Boulaye Dia gave the visitors a famous win.

The Ligue 1 champions, depleted by a spate of injuries, remain top of the table after seven games, but have already lost twice this season after defeat at Rennes last month.

It was PSG’s first home loss in the league since a 2-0 reverse at the hands of Rennes in May 2018, ending an unbeaten run of 22 matches at the Parc.

PSG only lead second-placed Angers on goal difference, after Rachid Alioui’s late double grabbed Stephane Moulin’s side a 2-0 win at Toulouse.

Neymar, who had scored late winners in each of his previous two Ligue 1 games, started alongside Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Pablo Sarabia up front, with Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi all still injured.

But the Brazilian, who failed to force through a return to Barcelona in the close-season, was a peripheral figure and was guilty of gifting Reims possession on numerous occasions.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel was also forced to play a makeshift midfield featuring full-back Juan Bernat, with Marco Verratti suspended.

The hosts made a slow start, despite Neymar going close with a free-kick, and fell behind just before the half-hour mark.

Reims, who also beat PSG 3-1 on the final day of last season, launched a rare attack and Hassane Kamara rose to powerfully head home Zimbabwean Marshall Munetsi’s right-wing cross.

PSG’s injury woes intensified further shortly before half-time as Choupo-Moting hobbled off to be replaced by Angel Di Maria, who had originally been rested and named as a substitute.

Reims came agonisingly close to doubling their advantage in first-half injury-time, as centre-back Yunis Abdelhamid’s header bounced narrowly past the post.

PSG dominated possession for much of the second half without posing a serious threat, and Reims again came within centimetres of making it two as substitute Remi Oudin’s low, left-footed effort struck the base of the post.

And Dia entered the fray before planting another fine header past the despairing dive of home goalkeeper Keylor Navas, sealing a richy-deserved victory.

 Lille’s Osimhen scores again 

Earlier on Wednesday, Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen scored as Lille moved into third with a 2-0 victory over Strasbourg, while Lyon were held by Brest.

Last season’s runners-up Lille have now won all four of their home league games this term and sit two points adrift of PSG.

The 20-year-old Osimhen put Christophe Galtier’s Lille into a 43rd-minute lead at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy by lashing home after some slack Strasbourg defending to net his sixth goal in seven games this season.

The three points were secured 19 minutes into the second half as Osimhen turned provider for former Chelsea and Marseille forward Loic Remy to slide in his first goal of the campaign.

Elsewhere, Lyon saw their winless streak extended to six matches in all competitions with a 2-2 draw at promoted Brest.

Moussa Dembele moved joint-top of the Ligue 1 goalscoring charts on six strikes with Osimhen by giving Lyon a 28th-minute advantage, but Yoann Court equalised for Brest less than 60 seconds later.

Maxwel Cornet appeared to have eased some of the pressure on Lyon coach Sylvinho by netting in the 69th minute, but Court completed his double to snatch Brest a point with five minutes remaining.

“We didn’t play well, I’m not satisfied,” said former Arsenal and Barcelona left-back Sylvinho.

“Once again we lost the three points in the final minutes. We have a lack of confidence and it generates fear.”

Lyon, widely considered PSG’s likeliest title challengers ahead of this season, slipped to 11th, already six points off the pace.

AFP

[UPDATED] Di Maria Stars As PSG Thrash Real Madrid

Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentine midfielder Angel Di Maria celebrates scoring his team’s first goal against Real Madrid, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, on September 18, 2019.
Thomas SAMSON / AFP

 

Angel Di Maria scored twice against his former club as Paris Saint-Germain shrugged off the absences of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe and thrashed Real Madrid 3-0 on Wednesday to get off to the perfect start in their latest bid for Champions League success.

Di Maria beat Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois at his near post to put PSG ahead in the 14th minute at the Parc des Princes, but it was his second goal just after the half-hour mark that really lit up this encounter.

The Argentine, who starred for Real for four years and won the Champions League with them in 2014 before making an ill-fated move to Manchester United, gave Courtois no chance with a shot on his left foot from 20 yards out that arrowed into the corner.

Thomas Meunier added the gloss to the score-line at the death but it was Di Maria who had cleared the way for his side, stepping up in the absences of the injured Mbappe and Edinson Cavani as well as the suspended Neymar.

After a summer dominated by the saga of whether the world’s most expensive player would leave the club, here was a reminder that the French champions have others capable of winning such games.

These two clubs are trying to recover some of their lustre after disappointing campaigns in Europe last season, but for PSG this result is a measure of revenge for their defeat at the hands of Real in the last 16 the previous year.

They remain unbeaten at home in the Champions League group stage since 2004 and they are already in control of Group A before facing Galatasaray and Club Brugge, who drew 0-0 in Belgium on Wednesday.

Real remain far from convincing since Zinedine Zidane’s return to the club for a second spell as coach and the 13-time European Cup winners have won only twice in five outings so far this season.

There is still much work to be done if they are to go deep in this competition again after being humbled by Ajax in the last 16 last spring.

Hazard makes little impact

They had a Gareth Bale goal disallowed for handball after a VAR review just after going two behind, while Eden Hazard struggled to make an impact on his first start since his 100 million-euro ($110 million) move from Chelsea.

Madrid were also handicapped by the absences of Sergio Ramos, Nacho and Marcelo in defence as well as Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric from their midfield.

Mauro Icardi made his first start for the home side after his arrival on loan from Inter, but his fellow countryman Di Maria stole the show.

PSG, confusingly wearing white while the visitors wore dark blue, opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Di Maria latched onto a Juan Bernat cutback from the left byline and fired in, although Courtois should have done better.

Hazard shot just wide at the other end moments later and Bale curled a free-kick over the bar from the edge of the area after he had been fouled.

Just after that, in the 33rd minute, Di Maria took a touch and smashed a shot into the right corner of the net to make it 2-0.

Then came Bale’s disallowed goal, and the Welshman came close again in first-half stoppage time, yet the Spanish giants created little in the second half apart from a Karim Benzema goal that was ruled out for offside.

Hazard, meanwhile, departed 20 minutes from time having failed to make his mark on the game, and PSG scored again in stoppage time.

With the Madrid defence exposed, Meunier exchanged passes with Bernat before finishing to the delight of the home crowd.

Both sides should still make it through but for now it is PSG, six months on from their horror show and humiliating exit against Manchester United, who have more reason to be optimistic.

Especially with so much attacking firepower still to come back.

AFP

Neymar’s PSG Champions League Suspension Reduced To Two Games

FILES) In this file photo taken on May 4, 2019 Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar looks on during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and OGC Nice at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. PHOTO: Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Neymar’s Champions League ban for insulting match officials on social media has been reduced from three games to two following an appeal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled on Tuesday.

The world’s most expensive player will miss the fixtures against Real Madrid on Wednesday and Galatasaray in two weeks’ time due to the original ban from UEFA but will now be free to face Belgian side Bruges on October 22.

The Brazilian criticised the referee and his assistants after Paris Saint-Germain’s last-16 collapse against Manchester United in March which he watched from the stands due to injury.

AFP