So, as league football across Europe returns from its slumber for the 2020/21 campaign, it should come as no surprise that Le Classique proved to be one of the weekend’s standout fixtures.
It also marked the first time that PSG took to the Parc des Prince this season after starting their Ligue 1 campaign in disappointing fashion with a 1-0 defeat at Lens.
Marseille, on the other hand, had emerged from their curtain-raiser with three points at Brest, but this time they were facing a team with Neymar and Angel Di Maria in the starting XI.
Nevertheless, questions were being raised about the PSG duo ahead of the first whistle having tested positive for COVID-19 at the beginning of September.
Naturally, they were safely cleared to make their comeback during the Marseille game, but such a major disruption to their pre-season had fans debating about their fitness.
And it wasn’t long before PSG discovered that they were in for a battle with Steve Mandanda making a glorious early save, before Florian Thauvin fired Marseille into a first-half lead.
It would be fair to say that the almost unprecedented prospect of PSG losing their opening two games of the league season turned up the heat in the ‘City of Lights’.
It should come as no shock that there plenty of heated moments between players, incidents often branded as ‘s****housery’ across the Channel and just general bad blood.
Astonishingly, there were no less than five red cards dished out during the game, as well as 14 yellow cards, with the affair descending into chaos throughout stoppage time.
In fact, the match actually finished with eight players against nine with Layvin Kurzawa, Leandro Paredes, Neymar, Jordan Amavi and Darío Benedetto all receiving their marching orders.You can check out the anarchic scenes down below:
However, there also happened to be very serious accusations thrown around during France’s clash of the titans with potential spitting and racist comments being mooted, albeit unconfirmed.
ESPN, amongst other publications, drew attention to an incident where Di Maria, fresh from his COVID-19 recovery, appeared to spit at Marseille’s Álvaro González.
González’s run-in with Di Maria didn’t end there, however, with footage emerging of Neymar appearing to say ‘racismo no’ to match officials during a break in play.
French football expert Jonathan Johnson, who was in attendance at the game, tweeted that: « Neymar appears convinced that Gonzalez racially abused Di Maria. »
It goes without saying that both the accusations of spitting and racism are unconfirmed at present.
Nevertheless, if the allegations turn out to be true, it goes without saying that spitting is highly irresponsible in a time where quality sanitation has never been more important to save lives.
Di Maria might have fully recovered from his bout with COVID-19 but if he did indeed spit, it still sends a negative example to all those watching.
And as for Neymar’s apparent claims, there can be nothing to say other than racism, in all its vile forms and manifestations, has absolutely no place in football nor wider society.
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Actu monde – NG – FIVE red cards as PSG vs Marseille descends into chaos amid spitting and racism claims