Sports

Craziest French Game of the Year!

Tempers flare at the PSG vs Marseille game as star player Neymar Jr. receives a red card after hitting an opponent because he was supposedly racially abused

By: Emmanuel Mendez

Neymar confronting Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez in the PSG vs Marseille game. Credit: indianexpress.com

On Sunday, September 13th, 2020, Paris Saint-Germain F.C. were playing Olympique de Marseille in a Ligue 1 game. The game itself was fiercely competitive in France since Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille are two of the most successful clubs there. 

Paris Saint-Germain’s  opponents were not shy of their pre-game feelings, as they were reportedly trash-talking Marseille before the game. Dimitri Payet, Marseille’s attacking player, tweeted after the PSG versus Bayern Champions League final that Marseille will “remain as the best and only French club to win the Champions League”. 

           The tweet would lead to an altercation at the beginning of the game, when Payet and Neymar started confronting each other after a heavy foul committed by Neymar on Payet, which was committed in the 10th minute of the game. Tensions were boiling from that foul and from that moment, additional fouls followed. 

In total, 17 fouls were committed by Paris Saint-Germain, whereas 19 fouls were the product of Marseille’s plays.

           Back in the first half of the game, Marseille scored the only goal of the game, when French player Florian Thauvin scored a left-footed volley past the Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper. Paris Saint-Germain thought they held more clear chances, but they couldn’t capitalize on their previous record of 14 shots and 4 targets. 

Marseille would score again later in the second half, but it was ruled offside. The cameras then showed that a Marseille player was indeed onside because of a Paris Saint-Germain defender`s heel, and it was controversially still ruled offside. 

Marseille’s second goal should’ve counted, and the Marseille team felt like they were getting robbed from the game. Since that disallowed goal, the whole team dropped back and defended through the rest of the game to make sure they got the three points that night.

           Time was running out for PSG and they kept missing chances in front of the goal. They needed to hurry up because if they lost, they would have one really bad start to their season after losing the previous game. 

The French champions were fighting till the end to at least get a draw since a win seemed almost impossible in the final 10 minutes of the game. Marseille kept on defending and trying to waste as much time as possible, so they could hold on to the win. 

           At the 90th minute mark, the frustration from the PSG players showed as they couldn’t find any spaces to create chances and the Marseille defenders were very solid. Neymar would push one of the Marseille defenders, Alvaro Gonzalez, off the ball so they could carry on playing. 

This led to an altercation between the two players and a few seconds later a foul was committed by a Marseille player on a PSG player. 

The referee had a lot of responsibility in his hands and he had to give out five red cards, three for PSG, including Neymar, and two for Marseille. The VAR, Video Assistant Referee, captured the moment when Neymar slapped Gonzalez on the head which led to more altercations from the two teams. 

Neymar was sent back to the dressing room and before he left the pitch, he told the cameras “No to racism, he is a racist.”

           The game ends with Marseille getting the victory against their eternal rivals PSG for the first since 2011. Later that day, Neymar tweeted about the situation with him and Gonzalez explaining why he did slap the defender and said he “regrets not punching him for being a racist.” 

Gonzalez would reply on Twitter stating he did not do such a thing and is also against racism. As of now, there is no proof of Gonzalez racially abusing Neymar but this for sure was a classic for this football rivalry.

 

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