Lack­lus­tre Ney­mar gets jeered on his PSG come­back

The National - News - - SPORT | FOOTBALL - DO­MINIC HART

Ney­mar was jeered by some Paris Saint-Ger­main fans on his lat­est come­back from in­jury as the Ligue 1 lead­ers eased to a 2-0 win over Lille at the Parc des Princes.

The in-form Mauro Icardi opened the scor­ing from close range in the 17th minute with his 10th goal in PSG’s last nine games, and An­gel Di Maria dou­bled their lead just af­ter the half-hour mark. But it was Ney­mar’s re­turn that pro­duced the most in­ter­est.

Ney­mar had not played for his club since Oc­to­ber 5, hav­ing suf­fered a ham­string in­jury ap­pear­ing for Brazil in a friendly against Nige­ria a week later.

It was just the lat­est spell on the side­lines for the world’s most ex­pen­sive player, who has fea­tured in barely half of PSG’s matches since sign­ing from Barcelona in Au­gust 2017.

His de­ci­sion to fly to Madrid to take in the Davis Cup ten­nis this week, just as he was pre­par­ing to re­turn to ac­tion, did not go down well with Tuchel, but the Ger­many man­ager still handed him a start.

On just his sixth ap­pear­ance of the cam­paign, Ney­mar lasted a lit­tle over an hour be­fore be­ing re­placed by Kylian Mbappe, who has strug­gled with ill­ness in re­cent days.

Ney­mar only pro­duced brief glimpses of his class and headed straight to the dress­ing room af­ter be­ing taken off, with some sup­port­ers jeer­ing the Brazil­ian, 27, as he de­parted the pitch.

“I didn’t ex­pect too much from him be­cause he has been out for six weeks. He lacked pre­ci­sion and his usual sense of tim­ing but that is how it is,” Tuchel said.

As for Ney­mar head­ing straight to the dress­ing room, Tuchel in­sisted: “It’s nor­mal, lots of play­ers do that. Oth­ers go to the bench, but I didn’t see it be­cause I was fo­cused on mak­ing changes on the field. There is no need to make a big thing about it.”

De­spite not be­ing near their best, Tuchel’s side were too strong for Lille, who fin­ished run­ners-up be­hind them in France last sea­son.

Af­ter just 14 games, PSG are 11 points clear of se­cond-placed Mar­seille, who play today.

Lille were with­out their top scorer, Nige­rian striker Vic­tor Osimhen due to sus­pen­sion, and coach Christophe Galtier had been left reel­ing when two of his as­sis­tants – Por­tuguese duo Joao Sacra­mento and Nuno San­tos – left 48 hours be­fore this game to team up with Jose Mour­inho at Tot­ten­ham.

PSG went in front from their first real chance, with Icardi con­vert­ing from close range at the far post af­ter Jose Fonte had failed to cut out Idrissa Gu­eye’s low ball from the right.

Mike Maig­nan saved well from Gu­eye be­fore the home side scored again in the 31st minute through an­other of their Ar­gen­tine con­tin­gent.

Di Maria con­trolled a Ju­lian Draxler pass and con­fi­dently beat Maig­nan to make it 2-0.

Ney­mar

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