Neymar cites racism for red card in defeat

Paris Saint-Germain were handed their second defeat to start the 2020-21 French Ligue 1 season as they went down 0-1 against rivals Olympique Marseille in La Classique at the Parc des Princes on Sunday night.

Florian Thauvin scored the game’s only goal on half hour by volleying Dimitri Payet’s delivery from a free kick, but all the talking points came deep in stoppage time as five players were shown their marching orders.

The match had been at boiling point before Marseille’s Dario Benedetto shoved Leandro Paredes off the ball. The Argentinian retaliated and a brawl ensued.

Layvin Kurzawa and Jordan Amavi exchanged kicks and both were shown red cards. Benedetto and Paredes were next to be dismissed for their involvement before referee Jerome Brisard consulted the VAR screen.

Replays showed Neymar slapping the back of the head of Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez and was duly asked to leave the field of play in the ninth minute of stoppage time.

PSG were also beaten by the same scoreline at RC Lens on Thursday night as they were late to start the defence of their title due to their involvement in the Champions League final in Portugal in August. Also a 0-1 loss.

Neymar and Angel Di Maria were both playing their first game since that final due to catching the coronavirus, whilst Kylian Mbappe out of the squad for the first two games of the new campaign with an ankle injury.

The world’s most expensive player took to Twitter after the game to explain that his slap of the opposition defender was in retaliation to allegedly receiving racial abuse from the Spaniard, saying:

“VAR catching my “aggression” is easy … now I want to see the image of the racist calling me “MONO HIJO DE PUTA” (monkey motherfucker) … that I want to see! What’s up? REEL u punish me .. Am expelled for slap on the head… what about him? What’s up?”

Alvaro Gonzalez quickly took to Twitter to deny the allegations, saying:

“There is no place for racism. Clean race and with many colleagues and friends on a daily basis. Sometimes you have to learn to lose and take it on the field. Incredible 3 points today.”

Neymar, Kurzawa and Paredes are now set to serve suspensions and will miss Paris Saint-Germain’s next game, on Wednesday, at home to Metz. Both clubs are currently without a point after two games.

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