PARIS (Agencies): Neymar claimed he heard a racist slur during Paris St Germain’s defeat to Marseille on Sunday. The Brazilian made the accusation to the fourth official when walking off the pitch after being one of five players to be sent off during the match and later repeated the claim on social media.
The PSG forward was dismissed for a punch on Álvaro González. Neymar tweeted after the match that his “only regret” was not hitting the Marseille player in the face, having caught him on the back of the head. González later tweeted there was “no place for racism”, adding, “sometimes you have to learn to lose and accept it on the pitch”.
A full scale brawl broke out on the pitch in the last minute of stoppage time, forcing referee Jerome Brisard to send off Neymar in addition to PSG teammates Laywin Kurzawa and Leandro Paredes as well as Marseille’s duo of Benedetto and Jordan Amavi. Marseille head coach André Villas-Boas said: “There is no place for racism in football but I don’t think that was the case… we’ll have to look at it.” Marseille earned a smash-and-grab win after Florian Thauvin struck in the 31st minute of a pulsating though ill-tempered match at the Parc des Princes.
It was Marseille’s first league win over PSG since November 2011, condemning last season’s Champions League runners-up to their second straight league defeat after they suffered a 1-0 opening day setback at Lens. Thauvin scored against the run of play, steering in a Dimitri Payet free-kick inside the near post from close range after the home side had come close through Marco Verratti and Neymar, who also missed a pair of chances in the second half.
Littered by crunching fouls at either end in the first half, the game produced some free-flowing football after the break as visiting keeper Steve Mandanda pulled off several superb saves and both sides had goals disallowed for offside. Ángel Di María’s effort for PSG was ruled out in the 62nd minute and Marseille substitute Dario Benedetto’s scorcher was also disallowed two minutes later as Thauvin, who unleashed the initial shot, was marginally behind the last PSG defender.
PSG were missing several first-team regulars who had contracted the Covid-19 virus but pressed hard in the closing stages only for Marseille’s rugged defence to hold firm as the 1993 European Cup winners made it two wins out of two.
“A tough and important win as well as a historic one,” Villas-Boas told reporters. “We struggled to cope with PSG’s early pressure because they are very good at it, but we found a way to grind out a great victory. It wasn’t pretty and we suffered.”