Brilliant Neymar gives PSG win over Strasbourg
A magical Neymar overhead kick in added time on his return to Ligue 1 Conforama gave Paris Saint-Germain a hard-fought 2-0 win over RC Strasbourg Alsace on Saturday to keep the champions in top spot.
Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 RC Strasbourg Alsace
With Neymar in the starting line-up for the first time this season, Keylor Navas making his PSG debut and Strasbourg the only side not to lose a league game to the champions last season, the match had more subplots than an Agatha Christie novel.
The boos and whistles that accompanied Neymar's early touches suggested the home fans think it was the Brazil international 'whodunnit', but he was soon eclipsed by Navas, who drew warm applause from the Parc des Princes crowd for a full-length save that denied Ludovic Ajorque (18').
A Neymar corner found Angel Di Maria in space inside the penalty box, but after making space to shoot, the ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid man opted to pass (27'). He then delivered a magnificent through ball for Neymar, who attempted to catch Matz Sels out with an early lob — with the Strasbourg goalkeeper stranded, his audacious attempt missed the target (30').
Stefan Mitrovic watched helplessly as Neymar shifted the ball to his left and whipped a curling shot just past the top corner (44'), but Lamine Koné's header just over the crossbar from a free-kick warned the hosts they remained in danger (45+2').
With Real Madrid coming to the French capital on Wednesday for their UEFA Champions League group-stage opener, perhaps Thomas Tuchel's men had their thoughts elsewhere. They mustered their first shot on target just before the hour mark through Pablo Sarabia, and but for another Navas stop, would have gone behind when Koné played in Ajorque (73').
Neymar burst into the box to test Sels from a tight angle by way of response (75') and substitute Mauro Icardi, who replaced Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting just after the hour mark to make his PSG debut, might have broken the deadlock but for an impeccably timed lunge from Koné (81').
Sels produced a brilliant stop to tip round Ander Herrera's low drive (84') - a save made all the better as the PSG substitute's strike was deflected — and he grabbed a Di Maria strike (87') before Neymar's brilliance won it (90+1'). He thought he had a second when he capped a counter-attack by tucking the ball into the net, but the offside flag cut short his celebrations (90+4').
THE PLAYER: Keylor Navas
The Costa Rica international has top-level experience by the bucketload, and on his PSG debut, showed it. He looked as if he had been playing at the Parc des Princes his entire life, and made two fabulous saves that ensured PSG could afford an off-day up front.
THE STAT: 0
PSG did not get a shot on target in the first half, the first time they have failed to do so since 22 December 2018 against Nantes.