Neymar shrugged off a hostile reception from unhappy fans as he marked his return to action with Paris Saint-Germain for the first time in four months with a stunning injury-time winner from an overhead kick to hand his side a 1-0 victory against Strasbourg yesterday.
The Brazilian’s first appearance since the transfer window closed without him getting his desired move back to Barcelona looked set to be best remembered for the hostile reception handed to him by PSG supporters.
But with the game in the second minute of added time and the French champions unable to break the deadlock, Abdou Diallo crossed from the left and Neymar, with his back to goal, sent the ball arcing over his own head and into the net off the post.
It was a remarkable goal and a reminder of why PSG paid a world record 222mn euros ($264mn at the time) to sign Neymar two years ago. It also moved them three points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table.
He had not played for his club since May and had been left on the sidelines in their first four league games of the campaign because of the uncertainty surrounding his future.
However, having been resigned to a third season in the French capital, he was handed a start by coach Thomas Tuchel here, and loud jeers greeted his name as the teams were read out before kick-off.
Certainly not much was going right on the field for the 27-year-old or for his team, who had been held by Strasbourg twice in the league last season. Neymar hit the post direct from a corner late on but ended up getting his revenge — it was against Strasbourg that he suffered a broken foot in a French Cup tie back in January.
As brilliant as the goal was, it was not met with unanimous approval from the supporters, but Neymar will clearly be missed when he sits out Wednesday’s Champions League opener against Real Madrid due to suspension.
PSG were still without the injured Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani here, but Mauro Icardi appeared as a second-half substitute after arriving on loan from Inter Milan just before the transfer deadline.
New goalkeeper Keylor Navas started in goal following his arrival from Real and excelled himself with one save from Ludovic Ajorque early on.
Lamine Kone headed just over for the visitors late in the first half, and it was not until the latter stages that the hosts began to apply concerted pressure.
Neymar burst through on goal in the 76th minute only to be denied by Matz Sels, and Strasbourg’s Belgian goalkeeper then produced a stunning save to tip Ander Herrera’s deflected effort around the post.
There was nothing Sels could do, however, when Neymar produced his moment of magic at the death.
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