Ligue 1

Ligue 1: Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain Dismiss Stade Rennais

RENNES, FRANCE - DECEMBER 16: Kylian Mbappe of PSG is hugged by a pitch invader disguised as Ninja Turtle during the French Ligue 1 match between Stade Rennais and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) at Roazhon Park on December 16, 2017 in Rennes, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Ligue 1: Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain Dismiss Stade Rennais

The 4-1 win for Unai Emery’s Paris Saint-Germain over Sabri Lamouchi’s Stade Rennais FC did not come without a price, as Presnel Kimpembe was sent off for a second yellow in the 89th minute of play. But Benjamin Andre was also sent off on a second yellow for Rennes in the 63rd minute of a goal festival that got chippy late, a match that eventually saw the league leaders match pace with AS Monaco who routed Saint-Etienne the day prior.

“When Neymar Jr provides solutions like that on the pitch, of course it’s good for the team..and for all those who love football!” said Emery postmatch. “He showed the full range of his talent this evening and was very good tactically and in providing penetration. Our three forwards all scored, and provided assists too, making it a very positive display. We also conceded a goal, we have to try and put that right.”

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Neymar Santos Jr. led the way with a brace in the fourth and 76th minutes and the MCN finished the job with goals from Kylian Mbappe (17′) and Edinson Cavani (75′). Firmin Mubele took advantage of a defensive clearance error to pull one back in the 53rd minute. Despite Rennes outshooting PSG (17 to 15, nine shots on goal to eight), Paris dominated possession (71 percent to 29 percent) and corners (11 to four), forcing goalkeeper Tomas Koubek to make some brave stops in the midst of an untidy attacking onslaught.

“When we played like that, when we play our game, we’re very tough to handle,” said goalkeeper Alphonse Areola to Canal+. “We stayed disciplined, focussed, even in the second half when Rennes were in a more dominant frame of mind. After they pulled one back, we were able to pick ourselves up and push on. We were on fire up front, we now have to be more solid defensively for things to be even better.”

“We played well this evening,” PSG defender Marquinhos concluded. “We know away games are always difficult, but we played with style from the start of the game. Everyone saw that Paris wanted to win this evening. We managed to score twice in the first half, and handled Rennes’ attacks well. We managed to score another two goals, and the match was over. Paris’ philosophy is to attack. When we push, we can make the difference at any time.”

Paris have one more match in the calendar year, on Dec. 20 against SM Caen at Le Parc des Princes. The match is taking place on Mbappe’s 19th birthday. Afterwards, the club will have its winter tour of Qatar, followed by holidays before the club reconvenes in early January ahead of their Jan. 7 Coupe de France clash with Rennes.

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Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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