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Neymar strikes late for PSG to win at Olympique Lyon

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Neymar struck late again as Paris St-Germain (PSG) beat Olympique Lyonnais 1-0 to strengthen their French Ligue 1 lead on Sunday.

The Brazil forward, who scored the only goal against Racing Strasbourg last weekend, found the back of the net three minutes from time.

The victory put PSG on 15 points from six games, leaving Lyon in ninth place seven points behind.

Second-placed Angers, who demolished St Etienne 4-1 earlier on Sunday, are three points off the pace.

Also on Sunday, Rennes drew 1-1 at home to Lille.(Reuters/)
KIA/OLAL

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

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Neymar says lack of football now making him anxious

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Paris St Germain (PSG) and Brazil forward Neymar says that not knowing when football will be played again is making him anxious.

The 28-year-old is preparing for an eventual return at his home in a gated community in Brazil under the supervision of Ricardo Rosa, his long-standing physical trainer.

In spite of Rosa’s best efforts to keep him active with a varied daily routine, Neymar said that absence of football due to the COVID-19 pandemic was weighing on him.

“Not knowing when we will play again is causing anxiety. I miss playing, competing, the atmosphere of the club and my PSG team mates. It’s a real longing for football!” he said on his website.

“I’m sure that the fans want to see everyone back on the pitch, the earlier the better. I hope the decision is made as quickly as possible,” added Neymar, who had scored 18 goals in 22 appearances for PSG before the season was halted in March.

Rosa said that his main job was not to add to the pressure which Neymar is already under.

“You need to understand the environment that this player lives in,” he said. “I try to relieve this by controlling the training load and nutrition. Everything is done so his performance improves and evolves all the time.”

“I try to do vary the methods, volume and intensity of work, dividing them between general exercises and specific training with the ball.”

In physical terms, he said that Neymar was a cut above most players.

“In all those years of working with him, what I will highlight, in the physical part, is that he’s a privileged athlete, always at or above the average for football players,” he said.

“Besides being an agile and quick athlete, he has a lot of stamina. It’s very difficult to find an athlete with these three skills together. But in Neymar’s case, he’s outside the curve because he has all three”.
OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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Neymar says he never flouted social distancing rules

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Paris St-Germain (PSG) forward Neymar has denied flouting social distancing rules following his return to his native Brazil.

The accusation came after he posted pictures on Instagram which showed him sun-bathing and playing foot-volleyball with a group of friends.

The 28-year-old said in a statement that the people in the photographs had travelled with him from Paris in a private jet and were in quarantine with him.

“The photograph… shows Neymar alongside people who are in quarantine with him, people who travelled with him from Paris to Brazil,” said his spokesman in a statement published by the Globo media group in Brazil.

“Neymar invited those people to spend the 14 days in quarantine there before joining their respective families.”

The statement added that the only visit he had received was from his son Davi Lucca and the striker had avoided meeting other relatives, including his mother, grandmother and sister.

“The house where the player is fulfilling quarantine is completely isolated, and allows peace and serenity for him to continue training,” it added.

“Neymar continues to do his daily workout, to prevent injury and maintain his fitness, with his coach Ricardo Rosa. (He is) looking forward to the end of this sad moment for humanity and the return to work that will follow.”

OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
(NAN)

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Neymar sent off as shaky PSG beat Bordeaux in Ligue 1

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Paris St-Germain (PSG) extended their Ligue 1 lead to 13 points with a 4-3 home victory against Girondins de Bordeaux on Sunday.

But it was a match in which the French champions were again exposed at the back and had Neymar sent off.

A Marquinhos double, Edinson Cavani’s 200th PSG goal and a goal by Kylian Mbappe put the capital side on 65 points from 26 games.

But they lost team captain Thiago Silva to a muscle injury and Neymar picked up a straight red card for a late challenge in stoppage time.

Bordeaux, who scored through Hwang Ui-jo, Pablo and Ruben Pardo, are 12th on 35 points.

Third-placed Stade Rennais beat visiting Nimes 2-1 earlier on Sunday to reduce the gap to second-placed Olympique de Marseille to eight points.

Five days after losing 2-1 at Borussia Dortmund in a UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg fixture, PSG did little to reassure their fans.

The players had “Stay Strong China’’ written on their shirts to show their support for the victims of the coronavirus that has killed more than 2,000 people in China.

In a tough first half, Silva limped off the pitch in the 16th minute with a muscle problem and was replaced by Idrissa Gueye.

Hwang headed home from Nicolas de Preville’s corner as the PSG defence were caught off guard in the 18th minute.

The hosts’ all-time best scorer Cavani drew them level with a header from Angel Di Maria’s cross seven minutes later.

They increased the pressure and Cavani hit the woodwork before Mbappe forced Benoit Costil to make a superb save at the half hour.

Marquinhos deflected Di Maria’s free kick with his shoulder to put the home side ahead three minutes into added time in the first half.

Pablo equalised one minute later in farcical fashion, after second-choice Sergio Rico’s clearance from Marco Verratti’s backpass bounced on to Pablo’s knee and into the goal.

PSG, however, accelerated after the break and Marquinhos put the French champions ahead after 63 minutes, poking home the ball after Costil had parried a Cavani header into his path.

Six minutes later, Mbappe doubled the advantage from close range after being set up by Cavani.

PSG were kept on their toes until the final whistle as Pardo found the top corner with a superb strike seven minutes from time.

Neymar was then sent off for a late and rough challenge on Yacine Adli.

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Edited By: Olawale Alabi)

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Neymar set to play against Borussia Dortmund, PSG coach says

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Paris St-Germain (PSG) forward Neymar is expected to play on Tuesday against Borussia Dortmund in their UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg tie after overcoming a rib injury.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel disclosed this on Monday.

The Brazilian did not play in the club’s 4-4 Ligue 1 draw at Amiens over the weekend when Tuchel rested some other players.

“He is here (in Dortmund). He will train and if all goes well he will play tomorrow (Tuesday). Because for us it changes almost everything when he plays and I hope he will play,” said Tuchel.

PSG have been knocked out at this stage in the past three seasons and are desperate to leave a mark on the competition.

“(Neymar) changes everything because if he plays we have his quality and confidence and ability to do (the) decisive.

“It changes everything… because if he does not play we have no other player with that quality to replace him.”

Tuchel, who coached Borussia Dortmund for two seasons before going to Paris, will need to devise a plan to stop the Germans’ formidable attack.

They have scored 22 goals in their five Bundesliga games this year.

“It is absolutely necessary to play with a lot of confidence in this stadium with such fans and such an opponent. Otherwise, you cannot survive,” he added before the clash at Signal Iduna Park.

“We have the team spirit to overcome difficult situations, adapt to different scenarios. That’s the key.”

PSG are under extreme pressure to finally deliver in Europe after spending big money on players in the past few seasons to build a winning squad.

They came agonisingly close to a quarter-final spot last year only to be eliminated by Manchester United with a stoppage-time penalty kick in the second leg.

“If you lose in the round of 16 for three years and you arrive for a fourth time it is clear it is not the same situation,” Tuchel said.

“Every year has its story and maybe we have to accept that it is sport. There are doctors, much more important professions, we play sports but it happens that you lose.

“Maybe later we can breathe a bit easier. We are here and it is important to make the most of it.”

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Edited By: Olawale Alabi)

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PSG have abundant talent even without Neymar, Borussia Dortmund’s coach says

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Paris St-Germain (PSG) have an abundance of talent and the potential absence of Brazilian Neymar does not make them less dangerous, Borussia Dortmund’s coach Lucien Favre said on Monday.

Forward Neymar has been sidelined for weeks with a rib injury.

He also missed their 4-4 draw in Ligue 1 against struggling Amiens on Saturday, along with several other key players who were rested.

“They have so many players with great qualities and they beat Real Madrid (in the group stage) even without Neymar,” Favre told a news conference ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg fixture.

The French team beat Real Madrid 3-0 in Paris while drawing 2-2 in the second game in Spain.

“Neymar is obviously a great player but so is (Kylian) Mbappe and (Angel) Di Maria. I can name at least 10 players on that team with huge potential,” Favre added.

Borussia Dortmund will have to be at their defensive best if they are to contain the French side’s speed.

They did that well during their 4-0 Bundesliga win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday.

“If Neymar plays tomorrow (Tuesday) and I am pretty sure he is going to play, then we have to take care of him.

“But they have so many good players. We have to be compact and we have to defend as a team and really be strong,” Borussia Dortmund’s midfielder Axel Witsel also said.

The second leg is in Paris on March 11.

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)

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Mbappe, Neymar on target as PSG sink Nantes

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A superb Kylian Mbappe goal and a Neymar penalty helped Paris St Germain restore a five-point lead atop the Ligue 1 standings with a 2-0 home win over Nantes on Wednesday.

France striker Mbappe found the back of the net with a jaw-dropping backheel finish early in the second half and Neymar doubled the tally in the closing stages to put PSG on 36 points from 15 games.

Second-placed Marseille, who have played one game more, had narrowed the gap to two points with a 2-0 victory at Angers on Tuesday.

“It’s not easy to beat Nantes they are very compact. We tried to play fast but we lost too many balls,” said PSG midfielder Marquinhos.

Nantes dropped to ninth in the table on 23 points from 16 games.

At the Parc des Princes, Coach Thomas Tuchel left Mauro Icardi on the substitutes’ bench with Mbappe starting up front alongside Angel Di Maria and Neymar.

The Brazilian thought he had opened the scoring shortly before halftime but his effort was ruled out by the VAR because of a Julian Draxler foul in the area.

Mbappe went close four minutes into the second half but Alban Lafont parried away the France international’s powerful angled shot.

Mbappe, however, put the hosts ahead in the 52nd minute with a gorgeous backheel from Di Maria’s whipped pass after the Argentine had been played through on the right flank by Neymar.

Neymar converted a penalty six minutes from fulltime after Lafont had brought down Icardi in the area following a poor header back from defender Nicolas Pallois.

Keylor Navas made a key save to deny Pallois in stoppage time, helping secure a ninth clean sheet in nine league victories for PSG at home this season.

Elsewhere, St Etienne bounced back from their first defeat under Claude Puel with a 4-1 home victory against Nice, thanks to a Denis Bouanga double.

The win lifted Les Verts, who were second from bottom when Puel was appointed two months ago, up to fifth on 25 points.

“It was a perfect game which should boost our confidence,” said Puel, who has secured 14 points in seven games for St Etienne.

Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder scored an early penalty and set up Gelson Martins for the winner as they won 2-1 at bottom side Toulouse.

(Edited & Vetted By: Mufutau Ojo)
(NAN)

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Injury forces Neymar off as Brazil draw 1-1 with Nigeria in friendly

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Paris St-Germain (PSG) forward Neymar went off injured after 12 minutes as Brazil forced a 1-1 draw with Nigeria in a friendly in Singapore on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Neymar, making his 101st appearance for the national team, touched the back of his left thigh as he left the pitch and was replaced by Philippe Coutinho.

He can now be a doubt for his French side’s UEFA Champions League game against Club Bruges on Oct. 22.

There was however no immediate word on his condition, even though there were plenty of words to describe the game thereafter as the draw extended Brazil’s winless run to four games.

The Super Eagles took the lead after 35 minutes when Joe Aribo found space in a packed penalty box to rifle in a low shot past Manchester City’s Ederson.

It was the second goal in two international appearances for the Glasgow Rangers player.

Brazil equalised three minutes into the second half when Casemiro fired home from close range, after he was quickest to react when a Marquinhos header came back off the woodwork.

Real Madrid’s Casemiro later smacked a header off the bar and Coutinho should have scored a cut back with five minutes remaining but the score remained at 1-1.

In spite of having 70 per cent possession, Brazil were however unable to find a winner to remain winless in this international break after drawing 1-1 with Senegal on Thursday.

Since lifting the Copa America in July, Brazil have also drawn with Colombia and Senegal and lost to Peru.

How They Lined Up

BRAZIL


Ederson


Alves da Silva


Marquinhos


Thiago Silva (yellow, 90th min)


Lodi dos Santos


Gabriel Jesus


(Substituted for Tolentino Coelho de Limaat, 88th min)


Casemiro


Arthur


(Substituted for Fabinho, 80th min)


Sousa Soares


(Substituted for Richarlison, 45th min)


Firmino


(Substituted for Barbosa Almeida, 62nd min)


Neymar


(Substituted for Coutinho, 12th min)

Substitutes


Pereira da Silva


Militão


Lobo Silva


Richarlison


Coutinho


Melo dos Santos Neto


Coquette Russo


de Souza


Fabinho


Tolentino Coelho de Lima


Barbosa Almeida


Almeida de Oliveira

NIGERIA


Uzoho


(Substituted for Okoye, 63rd min)


Awaziem


Troost-Ekong


Ajayi


Collins


Aribo


(Substituted for Shehu, 90+4th min)


Ndidi (yellow, 87th min)


Chukwueze


(Substituted for Olayinka, 89th min)


Iwobi


(Substituted for Azeez, 84th min)


Simon


(Substituted for Dennis, 79th min)


Osimhen


(Substituted for Onuachu, 74th min)

Substitutes


Ezenwa


Esiti


Azeez


Dennis


Shehu


Olayinka


Okoye


Solomon-Otabor


Onuachu


Ebuehi


Referee: Chuan Hui Jansen Foo


(NAN)


VO/DE/OLAL

(Edited by Dorcas Jonah and Olawale Alabi)

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Neymar and Barca meet again, this time in court

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Barcelona spent much of the summer trying to bring Neymar back to the club two years after he left to join Paris St Germain, but on Friday the Brazilian will come up against his old club in the courtroom to settle a bitter legal dispute.

Neymar, 27, was pictured arriving at Barcelona’s El Prat airport on Thursday ahead of his date in court, where he is suing the La Liga champions over an unpaid loyalty bonus of 26 million Euros ($30.69 million).

Barca, meanwhile, are suing the forward for 8.5 million Euros in damages and demanding he reimburses the club for part of the loyalty bonus they paid him in November 2016.

They have said that by joining PSG less than a year after penning a contract which tied him to the club until 2021, Neymar failed to comply with its terms.

Neymar, who scored 105 goals in four seasons with Barca during which he won two La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey triumphs and the Champions League, is no stranger to legal troubles.

In 2016 he was summoned to the High Court in a fraud and corruption investigation over his transfer to Barcelona from boyhood club Santos in 2016.

The player denied any wrongdoing and although charges were later dropped the case has since been reopened.

Neymar was accused in June of raping a model in a Paris hotel room, but he said the encounter was consensual and prosecutors dropped the case two months later, citing a lack of evidence.

Neymar missed PSG’s first five games of this season as he tried to force through a move back to Barcelona. His former club made repeated trips to the French capital to negotiate a deal, but PSG said the Catalans had failed to meet their asking price.

Neymar has since returned to action for the Ligue 1 champions, scoring in 1-0 wins over Strasbourg and Olympique Lyonnais and playing in Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat by Stade Reims.(Reuters/)
ERO/PDE

(Edited by Emmanuel Okara/Peter Ejiofor)

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Neymar’s European suspension reduced from three to two games – CAS

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport has reduced Paris St Germain striker Neymar’s suspension from three to two UEFA games for insulting match officials, CAS said on Tuesday.

PSG and the Brazilian had appealed against the three-game ban imposed by European governing body UEFA in June, and CAS partially upheld the appeal.

Neymar labelled the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system “a disgrace” after PSG were eliminated from the Champions League last 16 by Manchester United after the Premier League side were awarded a decisive last-gasp penalty in a 3-1 win at the Parc des Princes.

Neymar will be eligible to play in the Champions League in the third round of matches, when PSG travel to Club Brugge on Oct. 22.

The 27-year-old made his PSG season debut last Saturday after his failed transfer to Barcelona, scoring the only goal in stoppage time against Racing Strasbourg in Ligue 1.

He is suspended for PSG’s Champions League start against Real Madrid on Wednesday. (Reuters/)

IHA/MZA

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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