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Neymar sent off for diving on return to action in France


Neymar sent off for diving on return to action in France

The Brazilian forward was dismissed after picking up two yellow cards in the space of two minutes

A furious Neymar was sent off for diving in his first match for Paris Saint-Germain since the World Cup, as the French champions needed a late penalty from Kylian Mbappe to rescue victory against Strasbourg in their Ligue 1 meeting on Wednesday night.

Neymar was booked in the 61st minute at the Parc des Princes after catching opposition midfielder Adrien Thomasson in the face with his hand, and just one minute later was handed his marching orders for diving inside the Strasbourg penalty area.

The Brazilian angrily protested the decision, getting into the face of referee Clement Turpin. But the dismissal stood and PSG were forced to play out the remainder of the game with ten men.

French broadcaster Canal Plus claimed Neymar left the Parc des Princes just “minutes” after his sending-off and did not wait around to see the end of the match.

Neymar had provided the assist for PSG to open the scoring in the 14th minute when compatriot Marquinhos headed in his cross.

But Marquinhos then scored at the wrong end in the 51st minute when he deflected Thomasson’s cross into his own net.

After Neymar’s dismissal – which was his fifth for PSG since joining in a world record €222 million ($236 million) deal in 2017 – it was left to Mbappe to rescue the three points from the penalty spot.

The French forward converted a spot kick six minutes into second-half injury time after being brought down inside the box – marking his return with a goal ten days after enduring disappointment with France in the World Cup final in Qatar.

PSG’s win extended their lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table to eight points, but they will be without the suspended Neymar for the meeting with second-placed Lens on New Year’s Day.

Another man absent for PSG on Sunday will be Lionel Messi, who has been celebrating Argentina’s World Cup triumph back in his homeland.

PSG coach Christophe Galtier said this week that Messi had been granted leave until January 1, and was expected back in Paris a day or two after that.

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