PARIS — Fans expressed their anger at Neymar with chants and banners demanding his departure as Paris Saint-Germain started the defence of its French league title with a 3-0 win over Nimes on Sunday.
Neymar, who reported late to training from his summer holidays and has been linked with a move away from PSG to Barcelona or Real Madrid, was not included in coach Thomas Tuchel’s squad.
Some PSG hardcore fans mocked Neymar’s behaviour with one banner at the Parc des Princes saying "Get lost Neymar".
Neymar, who became the most expensive player in the world when he moved from Barcelona to PSG for 222 million euros (about $250 million) in 2017, has made clear in recent weeks that he wants to leave the club.
In his absence, PSG dominated from the start and monopolized possession to camp in Nimes’ half of the pitch.
Edinson Cavani put the hosts in the lead from the penalty spot in the first half before Kylian Mbappe scored his 63rd league goal near the hour mark and then set up Angel Di Maria’s goal.
Mbappe was in superb form with his trademark dribbles and bursts of speed, while new signing Pablo Sarabia worked well with his teammates and delivered several good passes from the right flank which destabilized the visitors’ defence.
Nimes held out until Pablo Martinez was sanctioned for an unintentional hand ball in the box following a VAR review. Cavani took the penalty and beat goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni with a powerful strike in the 24th.
Sarabia was dangerous again in the 34th with a fine volley at the far post that drew a spectacular save from Bernardoni, and Cavani missed an easy chance from close range with a poor touch from Mbappe’s cross.
Mbappe fired the ball into the top left corner in the 57th for 2-0 after connecting with a cut-back pass from Juan Bernat, and then delivered a perfect assist to the unmarked Di Maria inside the area. The Argentina forward, who came on as a substitute, controlled the ball and beat Bernardoni with a left-footed shot for his 40th French league goal.
OSIMHEN SCORES 2
Lille forward Victor Osimhen scored twice on his French league debut to help the northern side to a 2-1 win over Nantes.
Runner-up last season behind Paris Saint-Germain, Lille hired the Nigeria striker this summer to compensate for the loss of Nicolas Pepe, who joined Arsenal.
The 20-year-old Osimhen, who scored 20 goals for Belgian side Charleroi last season after starting his professional career in the Bundesliga, showed both his athletic abilities and technical skills to put the hosts in the lead.
After Nantes gave the ball away in Lille’s half of the field, Osimhen collected a lofted pass with perfect chest control, pushed the ball forward with a fine touch, surged past a defender with a burst of speed and scored from close range with great composure.
After Zeki Celik’s own-goal put Nantes back in the game soon after the interval, Osimhen was decisive again with nine minutes left with a near-post finish from Celik’s cross.
Turkish international Yusuf Yazici also made his league debut for Lille after completing his move from Trabzonspor. Although he did not score, Yazici came off the bench as a replacement for Timothy Weah to add a dose of creativity in midfield and came close with a menacing free kick which went just over the bar in the 78th minute.