Neymar nets winner as PSG leave it late again
Neymar was Paris St Germain’s late match winner for the second successive Ligue 1 game as the French champions sneaked a 1-0 victory at Lyon.
It looked like PSG would fail to find the net in a league fixture for the first time in 44 outings until a moment of brilliance from the Brazilian with three minutes remaining.
His strike was not as late, or spectacular, as the one in added time which gave Thomas Tuchel’s team a 1-0 win over Strasbourg last weekend, but the outcome was the same – three points for PSG.
Neymar’s winner also served as the ideal response to being targeted by objects thrown from the stands. The missiles, which appeared to largely consist of paper rolled into balls, rained down on the Brazil international whenever he took a corner in the second half.
He had been booed by his own fans during the match with Strasbourg, having been heavily linked with a return to Barcelona over the summer.
Sunday’s win was arguably what the league leaders deserved, having dominated the match and been denied by a series of fines saves from Anthony Lopes in the first half.
PSG arrived at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais high on confidence after an impressive 3-0 win over Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Head coach Tuchel made four changes to that team, two of them enforced due to injuries to Pablo Sarabia and Mauro Icardi in midweek. Abdou Diallo, Ander Herrera, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Neymar all started, as Presnel Kimpembe and Marco Verratti dropped down to the bench. Kylian Mbappe is still recovering from a thigh injury.
Lyon boss Sylvinho made two changes to the side that drew with Zenit St Petersburg in their Champions League game. Joachim Andersen and Houssem Aouar came into the starting line-up to replace Lucas Tousart and Bertrand Traore.
Lyon made a bright start to the game and caused PSG some early problems with their high press, winning the ball back deep inside the visitors’ half and then moving it quickly and an early chance saw Thiago Mendes have an attempt on goal.
Later on in the half Moussa Dembele curled an effort narrowly wide as the ball sailed just past the top corner.
PSG were dangerous on the counter-attack, particularly through Angel Di Maria. A through-ball by the Argentinian put Choupo-Moting in on goal, but his shot was well saved by Lopes, who was quickly off his line.
Another Di Maria pass set up a chance for Neymar midway through the first half, but again Lopes made the save, this time blocking the ball with his legs.
Lyon were coming under increasing pressure, with PSG putting a lot of crosses into the box. The home side were repelling everything but were unable to keep hold of the ball long enough to start an attack.
Lopes was keeping his side in the match and the Portuguese produced another fine save just before half-time to help Neymar’s shot from a free-kick over the crossbar.
Aouar had a great chance to put Lyon ahead at the start of the second half but, unmarked at the far post, he volleyed the ball wide from Youssouf Kone’s cross.
But PSG were soon back into their stride as they continued to pin the hosts back in their own half, although chances were not created nearly as frequently.
Diallo sent a header over the crossbar from a corner and Di Maria, after a neat one-two with Choupo-Moting, clipped a shot over the advancing Lopes and the crossbar midway through the second half.
Both teams looked like their midweek Champions League exertions had caught up with them in the latter stages as a goalless stalemate seemed likely.
However, in the 87th minute Neymar received a pass from Di Maria inside the Lyon area anddespite being surrounded by four defenders, he created enough space to shoot through Andersen’s legs and into the far corner of the net.
Kone went close to an equaliser in injury time but his driven effort from the edge of the box flew just wide.