Mon, May 13, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Neymar scores ahead of ban as PSG turn a corner

AP, PARIS

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, right, is tackled by Angers midfielder Baptiste Santamaria in their Ligue 1 match at the Stade Raymond Kopa in Angers, France, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Likely playing his final match of the season in Ligue 1, Neymar on Saturday scored and delivered an assist as Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) beat Angers SCO 2-1 to shake off their season-end slump.

Neymar put PSG ahead with a diving header in the first half and then set up Angel Di Maria’s goal in the 58th minute. Flavien Tait pulled one back for the hosts from the penalty spot two minutes from time after PSG defender Marquinhos was sent off for grasping forward Wilfried Kanga round the waist.

This week, Neymar was given a three-game ban — which starts today — for lashing out at a fan following a loss to Rennes on penalties in the Coupe de France.

PSG and Neymar announced that they would appeal the ban, which rules him out of his team’s last two games this season. He would also miss the Trophee des Champions on Aug. 3 if an appeal is unsuccessful.

Already crowned champions, PSG had managed just one win in their past seven games ahead of Saturday’s trip to western France, and had failed to win their past three matches.

Thomas Tuchel’s team did not impress, but the result came as a relief.

“We did not play well these past few weeks. It was important to win,” Di Maria said. “The mindset was better too.”

PSG dominated possession early on, but only managed to create half-chances at a pedestrian pace.

Angers were more inspired and had an excellent chance to break the deadlock in the 16th minute when Stephane Bahoken found some space between two defenders to connect with a cross from Tait.

Alone in front of PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, Bahoken timed his shot well, but Buffon made a superb reflex save.

PSG launched a quick attack and Dani Alves’ chipped cross inside the box found Neymar, who scored his 34th league goal with a header.

Following a series of dribbles down the left when Neymar crossed the ball back to the unmarked Di Maria, who headed it home.

Behind PSG, Lille have likely secured an automatic place in next season’s Champions League.

The northern side held a six-point lead over third-placed Lyon ahead of yesterday’s home match against Bordeaux. Lyon were to travel to Olympique de Marseille.

With a 1-0 loss at Nimes Olympique, 17th-placed AS Monaco slumped to their third league defeat in four matches.

With two rounds left, the 2017 champions remain level on points with 18th-placed Stade Malherbe Caen in the fight for safety.

Caen beat Reims 3-2 and have a two-point lead over Dijon. Last-placed En Avant de Guingamp were six points further back ahead of yesterday’s trip to Rennes.

Winless since mid-March, Monaco host Amiens and then face a trip to Riviera rival Nice in their last game.

Also on Saturday, it was:

‧ Amiens SC 0, Toulouse 0

‧ Dijon 2, Strasbourg 1

‧ Nice 1, Nantes 1

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