Neymar Injured as PSG Secures 2-0 Win over Strasbourg in Coupe de France

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 23, 2019

Paris Saint-Germain's Argentinian forward Angel Di Maria celebrates after he scored a goal during the French Cup round of 32 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Strasbourg (RCS) at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on January 23, 2019. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain beat in-form Strasbourg 2-0 in the Coupe de France on Wednesday, but their evening was marred by injury to Neymar.

Edinson Cavani fired the hosts in front with just four minutes on the clock. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting chested down Thiago Silva's long pass and found the striker who swept past goalkeeper Matz Sels.

PSG dominated the first half and had further chances to score. Neymar went close with a free-kick, while Angel Di Maria hit the woodwork just before the break.

The hosts suffered a blow just after the hour mark when Neymar was forced off due to injury:

Angel Di Maria then made the game safe with 10 minutes of normal time remaining after good work from Julian Draxler.

    

Neymar Shows Pele's Criticism No Longer Justified

Neymar spoke about criticism from Brazil legend Pele ahead of Wednesday's match. The PSG star told Canal (h/t Goal's Michael Plant), he "did not approve" of comments Pele made about his apparent playacting at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

There were no signs of any dramatics from Neymar against Strasbourg, although he was happy to showcase his tricks:

Neymar was targeted on occasion by Strasbourg and endured something of a running battle with Anthony Gonçalves. However, he kept his head despite being frequently fouled in the first half.

ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson noted how the Brazilian is treated differently to other players:

Neymar was forced off with injury early in the second half, but before that he continued to look like PSG's most dangerous player:

He went close with a free-kick that drew a good save from Sels, almost scored with a chance at the far post and fired a brilliant effort just wide after showing great skill to beat his man.

His departure on 62 minutes will be of real concern for PSG, particularly as PSG return to UEFA Champions League action in February against Manchester United.

    

PSG Must Reinforce Midfield in January

PSG are short of options in midfield with contract rebel Adrien Rabiot exiled and Marco Verratti out injured with an ankle problem.

Their lack of options meant that manager Thomas Tuchel again named full-back Dani Alves in midfield alongside Julian Draxler, Di Maria and Neymar. 

Although PSG saw the game out comfortably to advance to the last 16 of the competition, they still look in real need of reinforcements in the middle of the park in the January window.

The club have missed out on Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong, with Barcelona confirming on Wednesday that he will be moving to the Camp Nou at the end of the season:

Missing out on one of Europe's most promising midfielders will be a big blow to PSG, but they are expected to land Leandro Paredes from Zenit St Petersburg, according to Jason Burt at The Telegraph.

Tuchel has said his team's midfield situation is "very, very serious" and made it clear he wants his club to bring in a midfield reinforcement, per Goal's Jamie Smith.

Strasbourg may not have been able to exploit PSG's weakness in midfield, but teams in the Champions League will take advantage if the club do not address the issue before the window closes.

      

What's Next?

Both teams return to Ligue 1 action on Saturday. PSG play Rennes at the Parc des Princes, while Strasbourg host Bordeaux.

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