Neymar unstoppable in home debut as PSG beats Toulouse 6-2
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 21, 2017 07:30 AM
PSG's Adrien Rabiot, center, PSG's Angel Di Maria and PSG's Neymar, left, after scoring against Toulouse during the French League One soccer match between PSG and Toulouse at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)
By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — Neymar was in unstoppable form in his home debut for Paris Saint-Germain, with the Brazil star scoring twice and playing a role in the other four goals as PSG routed Toulouse 6-2 to move top of the French league on Sunday.
Neymar saved the best to last, bringing the Parc des Princes crowd to its feet with an astonishing solo goal in injury time. He dribbled through a forest of bewildered defenders, changing direction and rolling the ball off his foot left and right in an almost balletic display of skill and balance, before calmly stroking the ball home as if at a training session.
Neymar milked the applause with even Toulouse's players lining up to shake his hand.
"The crowd was fantastic and it was a great atmosphere," Neymar said on Canal Plus television through a translator after the game.
PSG leads defending champion Monaco and Saint-Etienne on goal difference, with all on nine points after three games.
Neymar, who joined from Barcelona for a world record 222 million euros ($262 million), netted on his debut last weekend in a 3-0 win at Guingamp.
On Sunday, he equalized for PSG and set up the second for midfielder Adrien Rabiot, and then won a penalty that striker Edinson Cavani struck home in the 75th to make it 3-1. PSG was already down to 10 men by this point, after Marco Verratti's sending off.
Center half Christopher Jullien exposed some poor marking to give Toulouse a lifeline three minutes later, scoring with a thumping header for 3-2.
But substitute Javier Pastore curled in a sublime, curling shot from 25 meters that dipped into the top right corner in the 82nd. It was Neymar's quick pass from the left that released Angel Di Maria to pick out Pastore lurking near the penalty area.
Two minutes later, Neymar whipped over a clever corner that left back Layvin Kurzawa met with a spectacular scissor kick.
Neymar has slotted into PSG's team seamlessly — although that is to be expected given the price tag.
Drifting in from wide left, Neymar was at the heart of several good moves early on.
With the scores level, he missed a golden chance when he fired Di Maria's pass over the crossbar. He then set up Cavani with a superb pass lofted over the defense, but Cavani hesitated whether to shoot or square the ball to Kurzawa and did neither.
Toulouse scored when new signing Max-Alain Gradel astutely volleyed in right back Kelvin Amian's cross in the 19th.
Neymar hit the post with a glancing header shortly after.
He found his sights in the 31st, sweeping home the loose ball after Rabiot's shot was saved by goalie Alban Lafont. Neymar started the move by picking out Rabiot's galloping run with a clever rolled pass into his path. Four minutes later, Rabiot played a quick one-two with Neymar and drilled in a superb low shot into the bottom left corner from 20 meters out.
Neymar intervened to calm down Verratti, after the Italy midfielder was sent off for a second yellow card with 20 minutes left. Verratti approached the referee, but Neymar blocked his path and offered him a consoling hug.
It was a night where Neymar was involved in everything.
Lucas Ocampos missed a late chance to score an injury-time winner and then got sent off as Marseille drew 1-1 at home to Angers.
The Argentine forward latched onto a headed flick from striker Valere Germain and sprinted into the penalty area. But rather than shoot, Ocampos cut inside from the left but lost control of the ball. As he tried to get it back, he recklessly lunged into defender Romain Thomas, catching him just below the knee.
Earlier, Clinton Njie made it three goals in three games to put Marseille ahead in the 17th minute.
Striker Karl Toko Ekambi equalized for Angers in the 71st.
Caen's second goal in a 2-0 win at Lille came after a flowing team move involving more than 10 passes.
The ball went from midfield to the right flank and then over to the left, where Ronny Rodelin guided it back over to the right for strike partner Ivan Santini to score at the far post in the 69th minute.
Defender Damien Da Silva headed in the opening goal.