Marseille - Neymar blames the referee for "falling for
Marseille's theatrics" after his sending off in Paris Saint-Germain's
explosive 2-2 draw at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday
Neymar was constantly harried and niggled by a series of
fouls in the grudge game against PSG's bitter Ligue 1 rivals, and pelted by
projectiles hurled by Marseille fans whilst taking corners.
The former Barcelona striker was eventually sent off for two
yellow cards late on, both for retaliation with the Brazilian superstar
appearing to aim a head butt at Marseille's Argentine striker Lucas Ocampos.
"That wasn't football," the world's most expensive
"The referee fell into the trap of falling for
"I was the target of lots of missiles, cans, baguettes.
I didn't lose my cool but I accept my mistake."
He described the heated atmosphere on the south coast as
similar to "a Champions League" night.
"We tried to play as we know how but it was difficult.
PSG weren't great....Marseille were good whilst we were below standard. We have
to become used to this type of rival."
Tensions were running high for France's 'clasico', from
which PSG fans were banned over security fears.
Supporters fought battles with police outside the ground
with cars bearing Paris number plates attacked. There were 16 arrests.
PSG coach Unai Emery meanwhile urged Ligue 1 referees to
make sure marquee players like Neymar were better protected.
"We are a bit disappointed by the sending off because
he was fouled a great deal during the game," said Emery.
"He suffered four serious fouls from our opponents
which continued and continued and continued," added the Spaniard,
insisting the Paris capital side's $261.5 million prize
asset had been provoked throughout the match.
"It's up to all of us to protect the big players, on
both sides, because (Dimitri) Payet is also a good player," said Emery in
reference to the Marseille playmaker.
Neymar had been excellent for PSG scoring a cool-headed
equaliser and looking every inch a big game player until his rush of blood to
the head and the red card with his side 2-1 down in the 88th minute.
"Those yellow cards were not fair on Neymar, he's a man
who wants to play," said Emery.
"He hasn't been battered here, but if he gets that
treatment every game.....I believe the referee should have had a good think
about it. We need to protect the great players."
Marseille opened the scoring with a Luiz Gustavo long range
shot on 16 minutes before Neymar levelled with a fine threaded shot on 33
minutes for his 10th goal in 11 games for the club.
After Florian Thauvin fired Marseille ahead late on, Neymar
was booked and then red-carded in the space of two minutes.
In a dramatic ending, a bullet-like free-kick from Edinson
Cavani made it 2-2 in time added on to salvage a point for PSG as Marseille
players slumped to the Stade Velodrome pitch in disgust and frustration.
The result means PSG keep their unbeaten record atop Ligue 1
with 26 points, four ahead of Monaco on 22. Marseille are fifth on 18.