PSG's Neymar bags brace on home debut
PARIS, France (AP):
Neymar was in unstoppable form on his home debut for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), with the Brazil star scoring twice and playing a role in the other four goals as PSG routed Toulouse 6-2 to move to top of the French league yesterday.
Neymar saved the best for 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 champions 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 (US$262 million), netted on his debut last weekend in a 3-0 win at Guingamp.
Yesterday, he equalised 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 produced a sublime, curling shot from 25m 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.