Neymar Junior appeared to accuse Marseille’s Alvaro Gonzalez of making racist comments during Ligue Un’s Le Classique, won 1-0 by Marseille in Parc des Princes.
It is PSG’s third 0-1 defeat in succession and the first time they have lost each of their opening two league games in 36 years.
It certainly was a feisty and at times explosive ‘derby’ played out in front of 5,000 fans. Cards were issued like confetti, no fewer than nineteen of them and 5 were red.
Alvaro appeared to have successfully managed to get into the head of Neymar, who seemed irritated with Marseille’s Spanish defender. Post-match French TV later re-ran a sequence from the 38th minute where Neymar was saying “Racismo no” to a Marseille player.
It’s not exactly clear on the clip who Neymar is directing the remarks to, however BBC Sport in their ‘Live Reporting’ mentions of the incident, “Now Neymar is in a long dispute with Alvaro. And he’s having an argument with a Marseille coach now (He was, this was clearly evident). The Brazilian is at boiling point.”
Then after being red-carded in the 99th minute for punching Alvaro on the back of the head, Neymar spoke with the 4th Official as he left the arena, telling him he heard a racist comment.
In an explosive finale five red cards were issued for the injury-time brawl, taking up to 19 the number of cards issued, 14 yellow, 5 red (four of the yellows went to Leandro Parades and Dario Benedetto who each also saw red on production of their respective second yellows).
It’s a record number of cards shown at a Ligue Un game in the 21st century. In the English Premier League if a side receives more than 5 cards in a single game, sanctions (generally a fine) are placed against the offending club. Will be interesting to see how Ligue Un react to the lack of discipline in this one.
After the match Neymar tweeted that his “only regret” was not hitting Alvaro Gonzalez in the face. He had struck him on the back of the head.
Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas said, “There is no room for racism in football but I don’t think that was the case. We’ll have to look at it.”
Former Newcastle man Florian Thauvin scored the game’s only goal just after the half-hour mark. There was a hint of offside, but after a long check the goal was allowed to stand.
Dario Benedetto thought he had put Marseille 2-up in the second-half, but his effort was (incorrectly) ruled out. It’s hard to understand the human-judgement element of the VAR process at times.
Di Maria also had the ball in the net for PSG, but the offside call on this one was much more clear-cut.
As well as Parades, Benedetto and Neymar the other two players who saw red after the late melee were Kurzawa (PSG) and Amari (OM)