Paris Saint-Germain beat AS Saint-Étienne, 3-1, on Sunday to stretch their lead at the Ligue 1 summit to 14 points. But the French giants also lost superstar Neymar to a serious-looking ankle injury late on at Stade Geoffroy Guichard.
Captain Marquinhos scored twice either side of an Angel Di Maria strike with Lionel Messi bagging a hat trick of assists but the fightback win was overshadowed by Neymar’s injury with the score at 2-1. His left ankle appeared to collapse before he was stretchered off.
Saint-Étienne had taken the lead through Denis Bouanga after Neymar had an early effort ruled out via VAR with technology working in Les Verts’ favor to put them in front, but a harsh Timothee Kolodziejczak straight red card paved the way for Marquinhos to level on the stroke of halftime.
Etienne Green was in sensational form in goal for Sainté and denied Kylian Mbappe on more than one occasion as Claude Puel’s men threatened an upset, but PSG’s superior quality ultimately showed through against the 10 men with Di Maria and Marquinhos completing the scoring.
“At 11 against 11, we created many chances, but the ball did not want to go in,” the Argentina international said after the final whistle. “I think we put in a great performance, and we finally managed to score through Marquinhos and I. We had the ball and that was the most important thing. We showed control and patience to win. We are happy with the result after the Manchester City game.”
While it was far from a fluent display from Pochettino’s men once more, Sergio Ramos made his debut in defense and received a crash course in what to expect from Ligue 1 now that he is back in action.
However, all eyes will now be on Neymar as Les Parisiens try to ascertain the extent of his latest injury and how long they can expect to be without him for in a scenario which is not too dissimilar from his first two seasons at Parc des Princes where winter injuries derailed both campaigns.
“Unfortunately, these sorts of setback are part of an athlete’s life,” said Neymar via Instagram. “You have to raise your head and move forward. I will come back better and stronger.”
In his post-match press conference, Pochettino revealed that the Brazilian is in pain after twisting his ankle and that exams will be done on Monday to learn more about the severity of the injury.