Milton Keynes: Neymar could be an injury doubt for Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League clash with Liverpool next week after limping off during Brazil’s 1-0 friendly win over Cameroon on Tuesday. The forward suffered an apparent groin problem and was replaced in the eighth minute, to boos from the crowd in the central English town of Milton Keynes. Everton’s Richarlison, Neymar’s replacement, headed in on the stroke of half-time for his third Brazil goal on his sixth appearance to secure victory for the Selecao.
A mixture of cheers and jeers welcomed Neymar, his World Cup theatrics in Russia providing ammunition for his detractors. And there was little sympathy when the star attraction went off after making little impact. He sought treatment after five minutes and returned to send a curling right-footed shot high and wide within a minute. He immediately collapsed before being replaced. But Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar played down fears of a serious problem. ‘He felt discomfort’, Lasmar told reporters.
‘He will need a bit more time to evaluate it and take a scan, but in principle it is not a serious injury.’ Richarlison appeared dangerous from the moment he was introduced and Roberto Firmino went close three times. The Liverpool striker almost turned in Willian’s cross but Andre Onana made a fine instinctive save. Firmino next sent a free header wide from Richarlison’s cross and was then denied by the goalkeeper from point-blank range. Richarlison scored from the resulting corner, powerfully heading in Willian’s set-piece.
Cameroon might have levelled after 52 minutes, but Stephane Bahoken could not get a touch on Karl Toko Ekambi’s cross. Fabrice Ondoa almost gifted Brazil a second when Ederson cleared downfield and the Cameroon substitute goalkeeper came 30 metres out of goal and collided with Yaya Banana. Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus, on for Firmino, was through, but could only hit the post from a tight angle. Jesus’s City teammate Danilo shot just wide soon afterwards and Barcelona midfielder Arthur next struck the top of the crossbar from 25 metres. Napoli’s Allan fired straight at Ondoa with four minutes to go and then the latter made a double save, first denying Jesus and then Richarlison. Jacques Zoua hit the woodwork with a header in the final moments as Cameroon missed out on an equaliser.
PSG host Liverpool at the Parc des Princes on November 28, with all four sides in Group C still in with a chance of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages. The French champions, who play Toulouse at the weekend, will also be waiting anxiously for news of Kylian Mbappe, who suffered a shoulder injury in France’s 1-0 friendly win against Uruguay on Tuesday. AFP KHS KHS 11210907 NNNN
Spirited show by France
A shoulder injury to Kylian Mbappe overshadowed France’s 1-0 friendly win over Uruguay at the Stade de France on Tuesday as Didier Deschamps’ world champions ended the year on a high note. Mbappe had to be replaced in the first half after a nasty fall, continuing a miserable night for his Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel after the German had already seen Neymar hobble off injured early in Brazil’s friendly with Cameroon in Milton Keynes.
PSG face Liverpool in a crucial Champions League clash at the Parc des Princes on November 28. When asked if he could give reassuring news about Mbappe in his press conference, France coach Deschamps said: ‘Not necessarily reassuring, but not worrying either. He had some shoulder pain after his fall and he has to have tests tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, but there is no serious concern.’
After the disappointment of seeing the Netherlands pip them to a place at the Nations League finals with a late Virgil van Dijk goal in Germany on Monday, Olivier Giroud’s 52nd-minute penalty gave France victory in a repeat of the two teams’ World Cup quarter-final meeting in Russia. “It was important to finish on a positive note, even in the last defeat (by the Netherlands) saw us miss out on the (Nations League) semi-finals,” Deschamps told M6. Roared on by a large crowd in Paris, France opened up the Uruguay defence in only the fourth minute, but Giroud fired a first-time shot wide of the near post with just goalkeeper Martin Campana to beat. Matias Vecino headed too close to Hugo Lloris as the visitors settled into the game, but Mbappe should have put France ahead when he raced clean through on goal, only to mishit a chipped effort well wide.