Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PSG open title defence with win, fans vent fury at Neymar

PSG open title defence with win, fans vent fury at Neymar

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Mbappe starred as PSG cruised past Nimes (AFP Photo/FRANCK FIFE)

PSG open title defence with win, fans vent fury at Neymar

Paris Saint-Germain brushed off the ongoing Neymar transfer saga by kicking off their Ligue 1 title defence with a straightforward 3-0 victory over Nimes on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Neymar was left out of the squad the day after PSG sporting director Leonardo said talks about a possible sale of the Brazilian were “more advanced than before”.

On Sunday, coach Thomas Tuchel told Canal+ he had “no news” on Neymar’s future and that he would have to “find solutions without” him.

Edinson Cavani’s controversial VAR penalty in the 24th minute set PSG on their way at the Parc des Princes, after supporters had made their feelings towards the absent Neymar clear.

A fine second-half display from Kylian Mbappe – with a goal and an assist for Angel Di Maria – showed Tuchel the obvious solution to Neymar’s impending exit, and gave the capital club a perfect start to their bid for a third straight French title and ninth in total.

Former Barcelona forward Neymar’s two years in the French capital since PSG made him the world’s most expensive player have been plagued by injuries and controversies.

Home fans unfurled a banner before kick-off translating to “Neymar. Get out”.

Other banners slammed his recent comment that his fondest memory in football was inspiring Barcelona’s stunning 2017 Champions League comeback against PSG, while one called Neymar “heartless”.

Neymar has been linked with a return to Barca or a move to their arch rivals Real Madrid.

VAR controversy

Tuchel handed Ligue 1 debuts to centre-back Abdou Diallo, signed from Borussia Dortmund in the close-season, and midfielder Pablo Sarabia, who joined from Sevilla.

The champions monopolised the ball from the off, with Mbappe shooting straight at visiting goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni after jinking through the massed Nimes defence.

They were awarded a penalty by VAR midway through the first half, as a corner struck Nimes defender Pablo Martinez on the arm after Diallo ducked under the ball while standing right in front of him.

Cavani slammed the spot-kick into the net, before Nimes coach Bernard Blaquart was booked for his protestations.

A pedestrian affair, with Nimes happy to almost exclusively keep all 11 men behind the ball, had to wait until the 57th minute for a second goal when Mbappe slotted in to open his league account for the campaign.

Di Maria came off the bench and drilled into the bottom corner after an excellent pass from Mbappe with 20 minutes remaining, and PSG played out the most comfortable of wins – finishing with 74 per cent of possession as goalkeeper Alphonse Areola did not face a shot on target.

Earlier on Sunday, new signing Victor Osimhen marked his Ligue 1 debut with two goals as last year’s runners-up Lille kicked off their new campaign with a 2-1 victory over Nantes.

Christophe Galtier’s hosts, who finished 16 points behind PSG last term, were indebted to Nigerian Osimhen, who scored a fabulous 80th-minute winner at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

“When I have opportunities, I don’t want to miss them,” said the 20-year-old. “I’m not yet 100 per cent but I’m training hard and I know that with time I’ll be in top shape physically.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Reports: Rainsy barred from Jakarta flight

    Sam Rainsy was on Wednesday refused entry to a flight from Malaysia to Indonesia, media reported late on Wednesday. The “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party’s announced return to the Kingdom on Independence Day on Saturday failed to occur. Rainsy

  • Government studying EU’s preliminary report on EBA

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Wednesday said the government was studying the EU Commission’s preliminary report on the human rights situation in the Kingdom that could lead to a suspension of access to its “Everything But Arms” (EBA) agreement. The

  • Gov’t: Rainsy’s ‘coup plot’ a failure

    The government on Wednesday commended the Kingdom’s security forces for thwarting the attempted “coup plot” by former opposition leader Sam Rainsy through his announced return to Cambodia on November 9. The comments came as Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue

  • Rainsy blocked from boarding flight to Jakarta

    Sam Rainsy was on Wednesday refused entry to a flight from Malaysia to Indonesia, media reported late on Wednesday. The "acting president" of the Cambodia National Rescue Party's announced return to the Kingdom on Independence Day on Saturday failed to occur. Rainsy arrived in Kuala

  • Tour guides question animal release ban in Angkor moat

    The Khmer Angkor Tour Guide Association (Katga) called on the Apsara National Authority to reconsider its decision banning all animals from being released into the moat surrounding the Angkor Wat temple after the authority prohibited the action for the sake of visitors’ safety. An Apsara

  • Kingdom to import 200MW from Lao hydropower plant

    Cambodia plans to import 200MW of electricity from Laos’ Don Sahong hydropower plant early next year to curb power shortages this coming dry season, with the transmission line network scheduled for completion later this year, Ministry of Mines and Energy spokesman Victor Jona said. Jona,