Neymar Jr, what a night!
6-2. Unstoppable in the final quarter-hour of Paris-Toulouse, the hosts made it game, set and match. It's appropriate, because when this genius takes to the pitch, you get the impression it's not the same game. Of course, Guingamp had given us a glimpse, but this was on another level still! In 93 minutes, Paris enjoyed an incredible show from its new player. Let's wind things back and enjoy it all over again!
On safe ground
Already, from 19:30CEST, the atmosphere around the Porte d'Auteuil gave us an idea that something special was to come. The frenzy around the team coach arrival was another sign, Neymar Jr then turned promise into reality. In the first half, the Parc gave voice to its support for its number ten, and he turned the Toulouse defence inside out. Picked out twice by his friend Dani Alves, Neymar Jr came close to opening the score, first with an instant shot (14') and then with lunging with a header (26').
He then stepped up a gear, opening the scoring (31') and then teeing up Rabiot for another (35'), and he even found time to pay tribute to Blaise Matuidi, who was watching on, but imitating 'Charo's' goal celebration, a sign of the Brazilian's lightning quick adaptation to life at PSG. It wasn't until the 74th minute that he served up the dessert. He brilliantly lured Delort into conceding a penalty (3-1), delivered the corner for Kurzawa's bicycle kick (84'), and then brilliantly flicked the ball over Jean (90') before finishing the game in real style (90+1'). Jullien and Blin were left dazed by his dribble, Diop left baffled by a brilliant roulette and Lafont was beaten by a swivel and shot that left Neymar Jr with a brilliant brace.
2 matches, records already
Amazing 'live', his display was also that when you take a step back. Like Ibra and Cavani before him, he scored on his first game at the Parc, but not only that. He's the first to score and register at least one assist in his first two Ligue 1 games in the last ten seasons. He's been involved in six goals in two games (3 goals, 3 assists), better than any player in Europe's top five leagues. He also completed 14 dribbles against Toulouse, a joint-record for L1 in the last decade.
More than the stats, the way he does it is sensational. Though he did a lot with his 118 touches, his movement was also spectacuarly good. He made himself available for his team-mates, and struck up a clear understanding with Di Maria and Kurzawa, as well as Rabiot.
Neymar Jr won over the faithful at the Parc, his "new home", and also those involved in the match. Dupraz, TFC coach, was impressed: "I admire Neymar Jr. His approach is one of calm and speed. It's good for football." On the opposite bench, Unai Emery said: "It's good for me to have him as a player, but also positive for Paris and all of France."
In the mixed zone, Marco Verratti was wide-eyed with admiration: "He scores goals like you see in cartoons, like Olive et Tom." It was all crowned by a 9-out-of-10 mark from L'Equipe under the heading 'Top class' on it's front page. It certainly was!