PSG, Neymar Succeed in Getting Champions League Ban Reduced to 2 Matches

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2019

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 14: Neymar Jr of Paris Saint-Germain reacts after scoring his team's first goal during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and RC Strasbourg at Parc des Princes on September 14, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar will be available to return to UEFA Champions League action earlier than expected after the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced his three-match ban to two games. 

European football's governing body, UEFA, gave Neymar a three-match suspension in April after he insulted the officials on Instagram following PSG's Champions League exit to Manchester United last term.

Journalist Jonathan Johnson posted a shot of the press release confirming the reduction of his suspension:

Jonathan Johnson @Jon_LeGossip

OFFICIAL: Neymar & PSG succeed in getting his 3-match Champions League suspension reduced to 2. #UCL https://t.co/l9G1CoompB

Thomas Tuchel's side begin their Champions League campaign at home to Group A rivals Real Madrid on Wednesday. Neymar will again be banned for the trip to Galatasaray on October 1 but will be available for selection when PSG travel to Club Brugge on October 22.

The 27-year-old scored an injury-time winner at home to Strasbourg on Saturday after he was booed by his own fans throughout the game following a summer of transfer speculation.

In the 92nd minute, Neymar decided the result with a dramatic volley from Abdou Diallo's cross, earning three points for the club in his first appearance of the season, via BT Sport (UK only):

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Neymar is back with a bang 🙌 The Brazilian produced a moment of magic just when PSG needed it! 👏 https://t.co/te6ccrcfcS

PSG will be delighted the appeal was successful, even if the Brazilian still won't be back in the lineup to face Real Madrid on Matchday 1.

The Champions League remains a priority for the French titans, whose best finish in the competition remains their run to the semi-finals in 1994-95.

PSG haven't made it past the quarter-finals since then and have failed to make it out of the last 16 in each of the last three tournaments.

The BBC's John Bennett posted the official explanation for Neymar's initial suspension by UEFA:

John Bennett @JohnBennettBBC

Neymar banned for 3 Champions League games for “insulting match officials.” https://t.co/tidhP1TWsK

Marcus Rashford scored a decisive late penalty for United in last term's round of 16. The Red Devils won 3-1 at the Parc des Princes to draw 3-3 on aggregate and advance via away goals—they lost the first leg 2-0 at Old Trafford.

Neymar took to social media and said the penalty "doesn't exist," before adding: "It's a disgrace. Four guys who know nothing about football watch a slow-motion replay in front of the television."

A foot injury kept the former Barcelona star from playing a part in either leg of the last-16 encounter, though he'll hope to have a greater impact this time.