LNTUP

Cavani rescues a point for PSG as Neymar is sent off

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Edinson Cavani’s stoppage-time free kick clinched Paris St Germain a 2-2 draw and denied Marseille their first win over their arch-rivals in nearly six years.

The French ‘Clásico’ lived up to its name and the Paris giants needed a late, late equaliser after being reduced to 10 men.

Cavani curled home from the edge of the box in the third minute of added time at the Stade Velodrome when it appeared Marseille would hold on for their first victory in 15 matches against PSG.

“It’s an important goal because the game was almost finished but at least we salvaged a point,” said Cavani.

Neymar had been controversially sent off six minutes earlier for his second yellow card – he had cancelled out Luiz Gustavo’s spectacular opener before half-time – with Cavani’s last-gasp effort rescuing a point after Marseille had regained the lead through Florian Thauvin’s volley.

PSG full-back Layvin Kurzawa wasted the first opening, blazing an angled effort over the crossbar after being played in by Neymar.

Neymar had been controversially sent off six minutes earlier for his second yellow card – he had cancelled out Luiz Gustavo’s spectacular opener before half-time – with Cavani’s last-gasp effort rescuing a point after Marseille had regained the lead through Florian Thauvin’s volley.

PSG full-back Layvin Kurzawa wasted the first opening, blazing an angled effort over the crossbar after being played in by Neymar.

Cavani’s attempt to curl a shot beyond Steve Mandanda was easily saved by the Marseille goalkeeper before the home side took a 16th-minute lead in stunning fashion.

Defensive midfielder Gustavo strolled on to the ball unopposed 30 yards out and unleashed a dipping left-footed shot that swerved inside Alphonse Areola’s right-hand post.

It was Marseille’s first shot on target, although their lead should have been short-lived. PSG swarmed forward from the restart and Kurzawa’s fine cross bounced over the bar off Cavani’s thigh with the goal at his mercy.

Marseille were growing in confidence as they hustled PSG out of their rhythm, but Neymar fashioned an equaliser out of nothing in the 33rd minute to silence the partisan Stade Velodrome crowd.

The Brazilian threaded the ball to Cavani inside the area and after receiving the return pass, fired a bobbling, first-time shot which curled away from Mandanda inside the far post for his 10th goal in 11 PSG appearances.

Both sides struggled to create goalscoring chances in the second half, with PSG happy to probe patiently and Marseille looking to hit them on the break.

Neymar appeared the most likely player to break the deadlock, but the Brazilian — protected from objects thrown from the crowd by stewards’ shields whenever he took a corner — was helpless when Marseille regained the lead in the 78th minute.

Substitute Clinton N’Jie showed real persistence to win possession on the byline following a deep corner and his cross was volleyed home at the near post by Thauvin, who had got in front of Thiago Silva.

With the noise levels cranked up by the home support, braced for a frantic finale, Neymar’s frustrations got the better of him in the 85th minute when he was booked for comments made to the referee.

Moments later the number 10 was controversially sent off. He pushed his head towards Lucas Ocampos after being felled by the Marseille defender, who dramatically dropped to the floor and referee Buquet showed Neymar a second yellow card.

But just when it seemed Marseille were about to hold on, the visitors were awarded a free kick when Cavani was fouled by Bouna Sarr.

The Uruguayan stepped up and curled the ball beyond Mandanda to silence the home support for a second time and rescue a point for the visitors.

PSG have seen their lead at the Ligue 1 summit cut to four points by champions Monaco this weekend, but they remain unbeaten this term and, for that, both Neymar and Unai Emery must be relieved.