Brazil playboy Neymar was sent off after an embarrassing spat in the final minutes of his first league start for Paris Saint-Germain in almost three months, shoving an opponent as the French giants lost a crucial home match.
Starting the afternoon level on points with visitors Lille in Ligue 1, reigning champions PSG were boosted by the return of their star striker from the opening whistle for the first time since the end of January.
Their prospects swiftly took an unpromising turn as Canada youngster Jonathan David gave their title rivals a 20th-minute lead, sending Mauricio Pochettino’s side on their way to an eighth defeat of the season.
On a frustrating afternoon, Neymar was booked over an altercation at the start of the second half and missed several inviting chances, sending a free-kick over the target and seeing a fierce shot saved by goalkeeper Mike Maignan.
Neymar has now been sent off three times in Ligue 1 since the start of 2020, more than any other player in the competition. pic.twitter.com/nqXWeO3avP
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 3, 2021
The notoriously petulant forward saved the worst until last. Entering additional time, Neymar appeared to fall over while chasing possession near the corner flag in Lille territory, then rushed to grab the ball after being awarded a free-kick.
As Lille’s Tiago Djalo held on to the ball in a routine attempt to run down precious seconds, Neymar lost his cool and shoved the defender, who fell theatrically to the floor clutching his face before the referee initially awarded a red card only to Neymar.
In the ensuing melee, Djalo was also dismissed as players from both sides surrounded the referee, with Neymar encouraging his opponent to leave the pitch by clasping him around the back of his neck.
LOSC were the better side on the day, there can be no complaints there. Without Navas, PSG would have been dead & buried long before the final whistle. #PSGLOSC
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) April 3, 2021
Neymar vs. Lille:77% pass accuracy 75% dribbles completed 4 fouls committed 3 chances created 1 big chance missed 1 red cardA day to forget for the PSG man. 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/3Ca59jxlqQ
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 3, 2021
Paris had won 4-2 away at title contenders Lyon before the international break, but Neymar was unable to help them avoid a third straight home league defeat following a shock setback against relegation strugglers Nantes and a damaging loss to third-placed Monaco, who are just a point behind them.
Neymar has played three full matches for the club this calendar year, all of which were in January – and he has been on the pitch for only 25 minutes since then.
While PSG had 16 shots to Lille’s three, their wastefulness was encapsulated by the fact that Christophe Galtier’s men matched Paris’s accuracy by directing all three of their shots on target.