PSG returned to Ligue 1 competition hosting and defeating Strasbourg 2-1 at the Parc des Princes. The matchup felt like an easy one on paper with RCSA sitting second-last in the table but it took Paris Saint-Germain a full 90-minute effort to defeat their last opponent of the 2022 calendar year.
The story of the game is, of course, Kylian Mbappe's scored penalty in the 94th minute to save PSG from a bad-looking draw against a relegation-bound team. Other than that, though, it was all about Neymar seeing a red card.
Neymar returned to training on Dec. 22 and spent less than a week training at PSG ahead of starting his first game after the World Cup break on Wednesday against Strasbourg.
Neymar was sent off for diving in a rather blatant and theatrical action by the 62nd minute after seeing back-to-back yellow cards in a span of two minutes. The first yellow card was given to Neymar for slapping Strasbourg's Adrien Thomasson in the face before the diving play.
It was a shameful, disgraceful couple of actions by the leader and legend of both Brazil and PSG after returning to Paris slightly earlier than expected.
Neymar will get a one-game suspension, miss the Ligue 1 game against RC Lens on Jan. 1st
The sent-off marked the fifth time Neymar has been sent packing early while at PSG since joining the Parisian club all the way back in the summer of 2017. It is the first time that he was given a red card for diving, though.
Christophe Galtier said in his post-game press conference that he thought some actions from Strasbourg players were "unpunished" and that could have "generated frustration" in Neymar, leading up to his ultimate actions, mainly referring to the slapping of their opponent's player.
This development won't surprise anyone, let alone Neymar's long-time detractors. One thing is factual, though, and it is that in this case Neymar truly lived up to the label of being a player constantly bitching about tackles and simulating fouls, magnifying the impact of the tackles he is always enduring on the pitch.
For someone into his 30s, though, the back-to-back yellow cards were rather childish and unprofessional to get. He will now have to go through a one-game suspension, missing the matchup away from home at RC Lens on Jan. 1 as part of Ligue 1's matchday 17 next Sunday.
Neymar joined PSG for a world-record €222M in 2017 and will now have more than a week off with PSG off the schedule until Friday, Jan. 6 if we don't count the game against Lens this weekend.
The suspension will allow the Brazil international to fly back home to his country and enjoy the New Year's Eve and New Year festivities in time with his family and relatives if he wishes to and PSG open their hand and gives him that privilege while Paris Saint-Germain takes on second-place Lens next Sunday.
PSG sits atop the Ligue 1 with 44 points, eight above Lens (36) in the table with the latter having one game in hand (they play OGC Nice on Thursday, Dec. 29).