Neymar Returns from Hamstring Injury as PSG Beat Lille 2-0 in Ligue 1 Clash

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2019

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (L) vies with Lille's Brazilian defender Gabriel dos Santos Magalhaes during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lille (LOSC) on November 22, 2019 at the Parc des Princes in Paris. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP) (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)
BERTRAND GUAY/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain defeated Lille 2-0 on Friday in Ligue 1 after Neymar made his return from a hamstring injury for the French champions.

PSG opened the scoring after 17 minutes when Mauro Icardi tapped in at the far post, and countryman Angel Di Maria doubled the score with a 31st-minute effort.

The home team were in total control in the second half and cruised to the victory, with little resistance from Lille after a promising start.

It was a successful return for Neymar after the superstar was injured playing for Brazil against Nigeria on Oct. 13.

The hosts took time to warm up their attack, and Lille went close to grabbing a surprise opener in the first 10 minutes. PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas denied chances for Xeka and Benjamin Andre, and the champions survived the scares.

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 22:  Mauro Icardi of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) celebrates his goal during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lille OSC at Parc des Princes on November 22, 2019 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)
Xavier Laine/Getty Images

Thomas Tuchel's men warmed to the task and their progressive tactics were rewarded by Icardi's goal.

Idrissa Gueye created the chance, and the Senegal international held his run on the right-wing before crossing to perfection to find the Inter Milan loan star.

Icardi's 10th goal of the season relaxed PSG, and Neymar became more involved as his team-mates played with increasing menace.

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A second strike before half-time winded the visitors, with Di Maria finishing in style. The winger latched onto Julian Draxler's ball and lifted his shot clear of Lille stopper Mike Maignan.

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 22:  Angel Di Maria of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) score a goal during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lille OSC at Parc des Princes on November 22, 2019 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)
Xavier Laine/Getty Images

PSG played within themselves after half-time, and Lille appeared to have less energy after conceding twice.

Neymar exited the game after his 65th-minute substitution, and the Brazilian got through a vital workout on his way back to optimum match fitness. Kylian Mbappe replaced Neymar, with the prodigy improving the work rate in the attack.

Loic Remy should have given Lille a route back into the game with 15 minutes remaining. However, the former Chelsea striker made a mess of his finish and failed to hit the target when he could have scored.

Icardi made way for Edinson Cavani with 12 minutes on the clock, and Uruguay hitman gave PSG a fresh option in the closing stages.

The home side cantered to the three points in the end and Lille's extensive wait for a win in the capital continues.

              

What's Next

Both teams are in UEFA Champions League action in midweek, with PSG visiting Real Madrid on Tuesday and Lille hosting Ajax on Wednesday.

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