Neymar headlines returning cast as PSG target French Cup - GulfToday

Neymar headlines returning cast as PSG target French Cup


Neymar and Edinson Cavani’s boost for PSG ahead of their French Cup showdown against Rennes. File / Reuters

Paris Saint-Germain’s pursuit of a fifth successive French Cup title will be bolstered by the return of Neymar and Edinson Cavani from long-term injuries for Saturday’s showdown with Rennes at the Stade de France.

Brazil star Neymar made his first appearance since Jan. 23 as a second-half substitute in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Monaco as PSG celebrated clinching a sixth Ligue 1 crown in seven years.

Cavani also returned to action, coming on for the final 17 minutes, as PSG’s famed front three -- which has accounted for 78 goals this season -- were reunited after months apart.

Coach Thomas Tuchel admitted he “worried” for PSG’s prospects after they blew a third chance to wrap up the league at Nantes last week, but the German struck a more positive note after watching his team belatedly seal the title.

“Our objective is clear: to win the double. We have to win on Saturday,” said Tuchel, who is also set to welcome back Angel Di Maria after six weeks out.

PSG beat Rennes 3-1 at Roazhon Park and won 4-1 at the Parc des Princes, but Rennes will look for the ultimate revenge as they chase a first French Cup in 48 years.

“The fact that it’s a one-off match, a final, brings the two sides closer together, the gap isn’t as wide as it can be over 38 matches,” Buffon told PSG TV.

“In the league our chances might have been 80-20, in the final it’s more like 60-40 or 65-35, because it’s a final where anything can happen.”

Rennes won the trophy in 1965 and 1971, but the Brittany club have painful memories of their past two finals -- finishing as runners-up to neighbours Guingamp in both 2009 and 2014.

“We have a bit more experience now than we did during our first games in Europe but it’s still a totally different game,” said Rennes captain Benjamin Andre.

“Lifting the trophy at the Stade de France would be great. We know the expectations at Rennes. We’ll obviously give it our all like we do in each match.”

Meanwhile, Neymar was suspended for three Champions League matches by UEFA on Friday for insulting match officials following Paris Saint-Germain’s shock Champions League loss to Manchester United.

The Brazil star missed the 3-1 second leg last 16 defeat on March 6 through injury, but insulted the match officials on social media after watching on from the sidelines at the Parc des Princes.

Neymar was found guilty of “insulting/molesting acts against match official”, European football’s governing body announced in a statement.

Agence France-Presse

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