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Neymar nets twice

by comsmedia

Neymar Jr. made the difference on his 50th Ligue 1 Conforama appearance as Paris Saint-Germain beat LOSC 2-0 in Sunday night’s big game at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, ending their hosts’ long unbeaten run at home.

LOSC 0 – 2 Paris Saint-Germain


Paris were seeking revenge for what happened on their last visit here, in April last year, when they needed just a point to clinch the title but came away on the wrong end of a 5-1 hammering. However, Lille were defending a 14-game unbeaten home record in the league stretching back to last March, so this promised to be one of the biggest tests of the campaign so far for Thomas Tuchel’s side.

Thiago Silva was back in the away line-up in place of the injured Marquinhos, while Mauro Icardi, Ángel Di María and Idrissa Gueye also returned, the latter facing the club he served with such distinction earlier in his career. Meanwhile, Luiz Araújo was among the players brought into the home starting XI following their midweek defeat on penalties to Olympique Lyonnais in the semi-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue.

Araújo, the Brazilian winger, almost gave the home side an early lead with a dipping snap-shot from range that was expertly tipped over by Keylor Navas, and instead it was the visitors who went in front as the half-hour mark approached. Di María picked out Neymar with a ball in to the middle from the right. The Brazilian brought it down on his chest, slipped a pass to Marco Verratti and then collected the return before lashing a brilliant strike high into the net from 18 yards (28′).

Penalty ends Lille hopes

Victor Osimhen sent a shot just wide of the post as Lille went looking for an equaliser before the interval, but their hopes of taking anything from the game were effectively ended when PSG won a penalty early in the second half. Reinildo was penalised for a handball just before a Kylian Mbappé shot was kept out by Maignan’s face. Neymar stepped up to take the spot-kick and score, the ball creeping over the line despite Maignan getting a big touch (52′).

This time the former Barcelona man celebrated by making the number 24 with his finger, a tribute to Kobe Bryant after the tragic death of the basketball superstar earlier on Sunday.

There was no way back for Lille after that. Mbappé was twice denied by Maignan as the visitors went in search of more goals, while Loïc Rémy finally had the ball in the net for the hosts in injury time, only for the offside flag to come up. Lille end the weekend in seventh place after this, their third straight Ligue 1 Conforama defeat. Paris Saint-Germain march on at the top, their lead over Olympique de Marseille in second spot now 10 points, and the only black mark on their evening was seeing Silva come off at half-time to be replaced by Tanguy Kouassi – Tuchel will hope his captain has no serious problem.

THE PLAYER: Neymar Jr.

It was a stunning goal from the world’s most expensive player that set PSG on their way here, and his second of the night meant he now has 47 goals in 50 Ligue 1 Conforama appearances – no player has managed that since the Swede Gunnar Andersson struck 47 in his first 50 games for Marseille back in the early 1950s. The Brazilian has also now scored in seven consecutive league games for the first time in his career in Europe. He has 13 in 13 league appearances this season.


Lille’s long unbeaten run at home is brought to an end after 14 games, in which time they recorded 12 wins and two draws. They must now improve their desperate away record if they are to end the season among the European berths.

Nantes fans paid tribute to the late Emiliano Sala before and during their game against Bordeaux

FC Nantes 0 – 1 Girondins de Bordeaux

Earlier on Sunday, Jimmy Briand moved closer to a century of Ligue 1 Conforama goals with a late strike to give Girondins de Bordeaux a 1-0 win away to FC Nantes as the late Emiliano Sala was remembered at the Stade de la Beaujoire.

With Nantes playing their first game since the first anniversary of Sala’s death on January 21, touching tributes were paid to the Argentine striker – who also played for Bordeaux – before and during this Atlantic Derby. There was applause and songs for Sala, while Nantes ditched their trademark yellow shirts for a memorial kit in the light blue and white of Sala’s country.

As for the game itself, there was little to shout about for Nantes, who slumped to a fourth consecutive home defeat in all competitions and saw their European push slowed. In a game of few chances, the home side were reduced to 10 men early in the second half when Andrei Girotto saw a second yellow card for a foul on Nicolas de Préville.

Bordeaux eventually made the extra man count as they grabbed the winner four minutes from time, Edson Mexer’s low cross from the right being swept home first-time by veteran striker Briand for his 98th goal in the top flight. Only Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani has scored more among currently active Ligue 1 Conforama players. After the humiliation of going out of the Coupe de France to lower-league Pau, this is a first win in five league games for Bordeaux, who climb back into the top half.

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