Neymar did not have the best Sunday ever. Not only did Paris Saint-Germain fail to win for the first time this season with him in the starting line up, but the 25-year-old Brazilian got pelted with bread and a variety of other carbs tossed from the stands by Marseille fans.
“The [Marseille] supporters threw all sorts of objects at me. I could’ve had lunch,” Neymar said (via Sport) after the match that ended in a 2-2 draw. “There were baguettes, orange juice, coca cola . . . it was exaggerated. That is not soccer.”
“It’s the same as going to a restaurant and hitting the chef with a knife and fork,” Neymar added (via the BBC).
The worst of it came as Neymar prepared to take a corner kick with the score tied 1-1 with under 20 minutes to go.
The former Barcelona star kept remarkably cool during the barrage, even helping clean up the field as bottles and foodstuffs came raining down. Eventually security came over with shields to make a temporary wall around Neymar that would allow him to take the kick mostly unfettered.
The obstacles thrown on the field by Marseille fans were nothing, however, compared to what the Brazilian had to deal with from Marseille’s players. Neymar withstood four fouls during the game — more than any other player — but the last one proved the final straw. Frustrated by a rough play by Lucas Ocampos that sent Neymar tumbling as he charged down the field with the ball, Neymar got up and appeared to lightly body check his opponent.
Ocampos instantly fell to the ground as if he had just taken a hit from a heavyweight boxer, causing the referee to dole out a second yellow card to Neymar, who had already been booked earlier in the match. This led to the referee showing Neymar the red card, which sent Neymar to the locker room. Neymar left the pitch without incident, but complained after the match about what he thought was unfair treatment.
“I think it was exaggerated, yes,” Neymar told Esporte Interativo (via Goal.com) about Ocampos’s reaction. “And unfair. I spent the whole game getting enough. I have many marks on my body.”
PSG Manager Unai Emery agreed.
“The yellow card, I think it’s not fair to Neymar,” Emery added.
“He’s a player who wants to play, but if every game he is provoked, [there is] aggression . . . I think it’s a job to protect the important players in both teams.”
Neymar is expected to be suspended one match for being sent off, as fans await a final decision on Thursday.
If that standard holds, Neymar would sit out Friday’s Ligue 1 match against Nice. He would then be available for Tuesday’s Champions League match against Anderlecht.
Despite Sunday’s draw, PSG remains atop the Ligue 1 with 26 points, four points clear of second-place squad Monaco. Marseille is in fifth place with 18 points.