Neymar, PSG
Match Reports

Neymar stars as PSG down Lens

Publish on 01/05/2021 at 18:51

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Neymar Jr. scored one and assisted another as champions Paris Saint-Germain moved back to the top of the table - for a matter of hours at least - with a 2-1 victory over RC Lens at the Parc des Princes.

Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 RC Lens

 

THE MATCH

 

PSG welcomed Lens to the capital trailing league leaders LOSC - who play OGC Nice in Saturday's late kick-off - by a point. Kylian Mbappé was absent with a calf injury, and perhaps with half an eye on PSG's UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City on Tuesday, but Neymar soon set about asserting his dominance. He nearly teed up the opener inside the first 10 minutes after a sharp one-two with Julian Draxler, but Pablo Sarabia's effort from his subsequent cross was deflected wide (7'). Muaro Icardi then saw a powerful drive fly over Wuilker Farinez's crossbar (13'). Lens had some chance of their own, Facundo Medina with the best of those in the first half, but missing Jonathan Clauss's wicked delivery by a matter of inches (18'). PSG took the lead towards the end of the half, though. Draxler harried Medina off the ball and slipped Neymar in, and the Brazilian made no mistake in finishing beyond Farinez (33'). PSG-owned forward Arnaud Kalimuendo kept Farinez's opposite number Keylor Navas honest at the end of the half, forcing the Costa Rican into a reflex save (42') and it was 1-0 at the break.

 

Pendulum swings PSG's way

 

Steven Fortes tested Navas again early in the second half, but the Paris custodian got down well to keep his effort out (56'), but Paris pulled further clear minutes later. Neymar sent an out-swinging corner into the Lens box and club captain Marquinhos rose above Medina to power home the hosts' second (59'). Lens only trailed by two goals for two minutes - Ignatius Ganago forcing home Clauss's cross at the back post (61'), but most of the second-half traffic flowed in the same direction as the first's had. Neymar struck a fine free-kick which was an acrobatic Farinez save away from making it 3-1 (67') and Medina - who might have been beleaguered after a hitherto difficult afternoon, did really well to keep his chin up, and his composure, to deny Draxler soon after (71'). Mauro Icardi thought he had a third for the hosts when he prodded home Marco Verratti's pass (83') but referee Jérôme Brisard ruled it out for offside and it ended 2-1.

 

THE PLAYER: Neymar

 

Neymar's talent is such that he can change the shape of a game without always looking like he is in top gear. The Brazil star took his opener with aplomb before his wicked delivery for Marquinhos's header, and has now had a hand in 25 goals in all competitions this season, despite missing 19 games with injury.

 

THE STAT: 14

 

To their immense credit, this was Lens's first loss in 14 Ligue 1 Uber eats matches. Le Sang et Or had not tasted defeat since January, when they were edged 1-0 by Nice in their Round 21 meeting.