Xenia sports – London
Paris St Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir sent a powerful anti-racism message before their rescheduled Champions League match at Parc des Princes as their players all took a knee.
The Group H fixture was halted on Tuesday night after 13 minutes, with both sets of players walking off the pitch 10 minutes later with the score at 0-0 after the fourth official, Romanian Sebastian Coltescu, was accused of using a racist term towards Basaksehir assistant manager Pierre Webo.
Webo, who had been sent off amid the incident on Tuesday, was allowed to take his place on the away bench, with his red card suspended while UEFA investigates what happened.
The governing body has announced the appointment of an Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector to look into the events and has said it will impose “appropriate sanctions” if the official is found guilty.
A new set of officials were in charge for Wednesday’s game, with Dutchman Danny Makkelie appointed as referee.
Both sets of players and the officials, who all took a knee around the centre circle during the Champions League anthem, wore “no to racism” t-shirts in the warm-up, while anti-racism banners were placed in the stands around the stadium.
The match restarted in the 13th minute with a free-kick to Basaksehir just inside their own half.
PSG, assured of qualification last night after Manchester United’s defeat by RB Leipzig in Germany, reached the knock-out stages with a comprehensive 5-1 victory.
Neymar scored a hat-trick and Kylian Mbappe netted twice, with Mehmet Topal getting a consolation for the Turkish champions.
Basaksehir began brightly and Keylor Navas was forced into an early save to deny Fredrik Gulbrandsen when he was through one-on-one.
Gulbrandsen was in again shortly afterwards when Mitchel Bakker’s header back to Navas failed to reach his goalkeeper, but the away striker was unable to keep his shot down and lobbed the ball over the crossbar.
PSG survived those early scares and took the lead with 21 minutes on the clock through a wonderful strike from Neymar.
The Brazilian received the ball from Marco Verratti 25 yards and knocked it through the legs of the defender on the turn before curling his shot into the top corner of the net.
Neymar was clearly in the mood and he doubled his side’s advantage after 37 minutes, with his shot squirming over the line after the goalkeeper had made a decent attempt to save his shot after he was put through by Mbappe.
It was three before half-time and Neymar was involved again, this time winning a penalty after being brought down Mert Gunok.
Mbappe scored the resulting spot-kick for his first Champions League goal in almost a year – he had last found the net in a 5-0 victory against Galatasaray on December 11 2019.
Bakker saw an effort hit a post at the start of the second half before Neymar completed his hat-trick in the 50th minute, cutting in from the left and firing a brilliant 20-yard drive beyond Gunok.
Basaksehir got a goal back after 57 minutes when Irfan Kahveci’s powerful drive from just inside the area bounced off Topal’s knee at close range and beyond the helpless Navas.
Mbappe restored the four-goal lead just after the hour. PSG was devastating on the break as Neymar sent Angel Di Maria through and the substitute squared the ball to Mbappe for a simple finish into an open net.
Mbappe should have also had a hat-trick midway through the second half but, after being sent clear by Neymar, the France international saw his chipped finish saved by the goalkeeper, who stood up well to make the block.
So it was only Neymar who went home with a match ball as PSG topped Group H above RB Leipzig, with both clubs finishing on 12 points.