Neymar scored when he returned to action for Paris Saint-Germain when they beat arch-rivals Marseille 2-1 to win this season’s Champions Trophy.
The Brazilian rolled home a penalty in the 85th minute to put PSG two goals ahead after Mauro Icardi’s first half opener to give new coach Mauricio Pochettino the first trophy of his reign in the French capital and a leadership career.
The Champions Trophy is the French equivalent of a Super Cup, which is usually competed at the beginning of the season by the league champions and French cup winners.
With PSG winning both last season, Marseille had been selected as their opponents as second place in Ligue 1. This season’s edition was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hopes were high for a feisty hassle in Lens after Marseille’s league victory over PSG in September ended with five red cards and Neymar accused Marseille’s center-back Alvaro Gonzalez of racism in the aftermath.
However, it was a big tame meeting in northern France, with the most notable event as a replacement for Neymar’s goal after a month away.
The 28-year-old had not played for the French champions since he was bedridden with an ankle injury during a 1-0 defeat to current league leader Lyon on December 13.
Icardi thought he had given PSG the lead with a 22-minute drop, only to rule out the goal for offside after Kylian Mbappe deviated past Marseille’s back line to collect Leandro Parede’s defensive pass.
Seven minutes later, it was Mbappe’s turn to get a goal to chalk away when he started running too early to get a long pass from his captain Marquinhos.
Icardi finally put forward the dominant PSG six minutes before the break with a goal typical of his poachers’ style, and met Angel Di Maria’s first long ball with a close header which Steven Mandanda pressed into the post.
The Argentine was the fastest to follow up when the ball dribbled back from the goal, and he knocked in his second goal is as many games since returning from injury.
He almost doubled his lead in the stoppage time of the first half when he struck a left-foot strike from the crossbar.
Neymar returned to action in the 65th minute and was immediately directed at Gonzalez, the Argentine who foules the superstar several times in what looked like a continuation of the couple’s spit.
However, it was Neymar who had the last laugh when he stepped up to score the decisive second goal for PSG from the penalty spot after Icardi was led by Marseille’s replacement Yohann Pele.
Dimitri Payet pulled one back for Marseille with one minute left but it was a little too late for Andre Villas-Boa’s side.