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Paris Saint-Germain sink St Etienne as NBA great Curry roars on Neymar Featured

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Published in Basketball
Thursday, 31 August 2017 08:01

Paris St Germain extended their perfect start to the Ligue 1 campaign with a 3-0 home win over St Etienne watched by NBA star Stephen Curry, who attended the match as a special guest of the French side's Brazil forward Neymar on Friday.

Golden State Warriors player Curry received a PSG team shirt with his name emblazoned on the back and took a ceremonial kick off before moving to the Parc Des Princes VIP section for the start of the game.

Neymar was returning Curry's hospitality after being his guest in the 2017 NBA finals when the Warriors blew away the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Two goals by Edinson Cavani either side of a 51st-minute effort by Italy's Brazilian-born midfielder Thiago Motta kept PSG top of the standings with a maximum 12 points from four games.

Neymar, who racked up three goals and as many assists in his opening two matches for PSG, looked somewhat subdued in Curry's presence and many of his passes went astray.

However, two trademark moments of brilliance from the 25-year old were enough to pick the lock.

On 20 minutes he delivered an inch-perfect pass to Cavani, who was hauled down by Saido Janko. The Uruguay striker converted the spot kick to put the home side ahead.

Motta doubled the lead, drilling in an unstoppable close-range shot after Marquinhos chested down an expertly floated Neymar free kick into the penalty box.

PSG keeper Alphonse Areola made several good saves as St Etienne, after soaking up incessant pressure, threatened to claw their way back into the game from rare breakaway moves.

Cavani extended his recent good form with his second goal and fifth in four league games when he rounded off a flowing move with a backheel finish from close range in the 90th minute.

In the round's other standout fixtures, Nantes are at home to Lyon on Saturday while champions Monaco entertain 1993 Champions League winners Marseille on Sunday.

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  • Real President: Neymar could win Ballon d'Or at Madrid

    Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has opened the door for Neymar to join the European champions by declaring it would help further the forward's individual ambitions.

    Neymar finished third behind Lionel Messi and winner Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d'Or on Thursday and Perez suggested the only way for the Brazilian to break the duo's stranglehold on the prize - which has extended to a decade - would be to join Real.
    "Being in Madrid would make it easier to win the Ballon d'Or," Perez told Spanish radio. "Madrid is a club that gives a big player everything they need to do so. Everyone knows I wanted to sign him."
    Perez attempted to bring Neymar to Real from Santos on several occasions before he plumped for arch-rivals Barcelona in 2013.

    He enjoyed success in Catalonia, helping Barcalona win the treble in 2015 before leaving for Paris St Germain in a world- record 222 million euro deal this year.

    In September Neymar, 25, was involved in an on-field spat with team mate Edinson Cavani over who was going to take a penalty and there has been growing media speculation that his stint in the French capital could be a brief one.

  • Neymar and Cavani strike again as PSG go 10 points clear

    Neymar and Edinson Cavani, Paris St Germain's deadly double act, again delivered a goal apiece in a sluggish 2-0 victory over Troyes that took them 10 points clear of their Ligue 1 challengers.

    While their nearest chasers lost, Lyon succumbing 2-1 at home to struggling Lille and Monaco falling 1-0 at Nantes after a last-gasp Lucas Lima thunderbolt, PSG marched on without ever hitting top gear.
    They left it late as a brilliant Neymar strike in the 73rd minute, his 15th PSG goal in all competitions, eased nerves at the Parc des Princes before the Brazilian set up Cavani, who had a first-half penalty saved, to score in stoppage time.

    The pair had a spirited debate over who should take the penalty, with Cavani winning the argument, but they worked in perfect harmony for the Uruguayan's 23rd goal, stretching his lead as top marksman in Europe's major leagues this season.
    The losses for Lyon and Monaco enabled Marseille, with their emphatic 3-0 win at bottom club Metz, to move into second place but they are 10 points adrift of unbeaten PSG, who moved on to 41 points after 15 games.

    Third-placed Lyon and Monaco, both on 29 points, were left two points behind Marseille.

    PSG had seemed out of sorts against mid-table opponents they had hammered 9-0 in their last meeting when sealing the title in 2016, but looked to be in charge once Cavani earned the penalty with a theatrical fall under Karim Azamoum's shirt tug.

    Just as during a game against Lyon in September when the pair argued over who should take the set-piece duties, Cavani won the day but his 40th minute spot kick was saved by Mamadou Samassa, who was way off his line as the ball was struck.

    Neymar, who never stopped trying to galvanise the side, took his one chance superbly, marauding to the edge of the box before unleashing a left-foot shot worthy of the world's most expensive player.

    Champions Monaco's miserable spell continued after their Champions League exit and weekend loss to PSG when Nantes' Brazilian substitute Lima cracked home a left foot half-volley to give Claudio Ranieri's side a well deserved win.

    Lyon's eight-match unbeaten run in the league was ended surprisingly by Lille, whose goals from Thiago Mendes and Ezequiel Ponce were both aided by poor defending.

  • Neymar and Unai Emery fell out over stretching

    Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar and manager Unai Emery fell out just days before the Brazilian burst into tears at a press conference, sources close to the coach told Eurosport Spain.

    Emery reportedly ordered Neymar to stretch with his team-mates after a training session earlier in November, but he refused and did some shooting drills instead.

    Neymar broke down in tears during a media briefing while on international duty last week, with Brazil boss Tite moving to defend his player’s character.
    Neymar told a press conference after scoring in Brazil's 3-1 friendly win over Japan on Friday:

    "I'm very well in Paris, I'm happy. I'm motivated to be a player who gives everything on the pitch. Anyway, there's something that is bothering me a lot – I don't have a problem with [Edinson] Cavani, I don't have a problem with the coach. I want you to stop inventing stories that I have problems with the coach. I came to help, to contribute, I came to help my coach."
    But Eurosport Spain now pour fresh light on a tense situation, saying the relationship between Neymar and Emery is on a collision course due to their opposing styles.

    "The truth is that the Brazilian maintains a more than tense relationship with the Spaniard [Emery] and the latest chapter of his already habitual samples of indiscipline was only days before [the press conference]," says the story.

    Emery is typically methodical, mulling over minor details, while Neymar is free and undisciplined, per the report. The stretching incident upset Emery not only due to the disrespect, but also because he believes it is a vital part of daily training.
    After the 4-0 win over Anderlecht in the Champions League in October, Emery prepared a light training session for the players involved. Meanwhile, the reserves were scheduled to play a game.

    Neymar wanted to join in with the reserves after his session, but Emery prevented it – resulting in the Brazilian reportedly throwing a ball against a wall and storming off to the dressing room.

    He has also clashed with Cavani over penalty duties, while Emery has already been forced to deny that Neymar is tired of his video sessions.
    The report concludes: “Everything indicates that the bad relationship will have its consequences – even to the point that Emery will not end the year as PSG coach.”

  • Tearful Neymar denies problems at PSG

    Brazil forward Neymar denied he had problems with his team mates at his club Paris St Germain and was moved to tears after being given the backing of his national team coach Tite on Friday.

    After helping Brazil beat Japan 3-1 in a friendly, Neymar refuted suggestions that he regretted moving to the French club.

    "I don't like whispers and stories so it's better that you hear it from the horses mouth," he told reporters after scoring one penalty and missing another during the game in Lille.
    "I don't have any problems at PSG, the only thing that bothers me is the pressure from the media. I'm a guy who likes to win, I like winning titles and that's why I came to PSG.

    "I'm very happy, I'm motivated. They are inventing stories which aren't true, I don't have any problems with (forward) Edinson Cavani or with my coach (Unai Emery).

    "I came to help and to be happy, I didn't come to upset anyone or cause trouble."

    Tite backed Neymar and denied suggestions that he also had a troubled relationship with the player.

    "I keep hearing that Tite has problems with Neymar and I am tired of hearing that... we are tired of it," he said.
    "I know that if he did have problems, then he would have the decency and the good character to talk about them in the dressing room.

    "I can talk about Neymar's temperament, his good nature and his big heart."

    Neymar was clearly moved by those words and left after being given a pat on the head by his coach.

  • Gordon Hayward fractures ankle in first appearance for Celtics

    New Boston Celtics star forward Gordon Hayward fractured his left ankle when he was bumped in the air by LeBron James and fell with his leg pinned under him in the first quarter of the NBA's season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.

    Hayward, 27, who signed a four-year, $128 million contract in the offseason with the Celtics, was trying to convert a lob pass from Kyrie Irving when he and James collided.

    Hayward immediately called for help while his ankle was apparently dislodged.
    The team later announced Hayward suffered a fractured ankle.

    The Celtics huddled in prayer and new Celtic team-mate Irving had to be consoled while medical personnel stabilized Hayward's leg. He was carried off the court on a stretcher.

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