Lacklustre Neymar gets jeered on his PSG comeback
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.