Paris, France | THE INDEPENDENT | Brazilian star Neymar struck a hat-trick and his partner Kylian Mbappe added two to help Paris Saint-Germain finish top in Champions League Group H after an overwhelming 5-1 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir at Parc des Princes on Wednesday.
The match, which was started yesterday, had been halted after 14 minutes when both sides walked off amid alleged racist abuse from fourth official Sebastian Coltescu to Basaksehir coach Pierre Webo.
Players from both sides took a knee around the centre circle before the restart on Wednesday. Webo, who was shown a red card on Tuesday, was allowed to take his place on the away bench as his red card was suspended while UEFA is investigating the incident.
“We are tired, we don’t want to go through this again,” said Mbappe, who overtook Barcelona’s Lionel Messi to become the youngest player to reach 20 Champions League goals after a brace in the match.
“Of course, I am proud of what was done. We were not disappointed not to play. We made that decision. We were proud,” the French international added. “A lot of things were said but, in fact, there’s nothing better than actions.”
Neymar opened the scoring for the Ligue 1 champions by beating Carlos Ponck and curling home, before doubling the lead in a sensational counter-attack involving Rafinha and Mbappe.
The Brazilian striker could have finished his hat-trick in the first half, but let Mbappe take a 42nd-minute penalty to end his a year-long wait for a Champions League goal.
“It’s a great gesture,” PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel said of Neymar’s actions. “It is also not usual for Neymar to score three goals in the same game. He gave that ball to Kylian to end his long streak without scoring in the Champions League.”
“Neymar’s heart is very big. He always thinks of his teammates. He knows very well how important it is for forwards and for Kylian to score.”
The Brazilian didn’t wait too long for his third, firing from 20 yards five minutes into the second half. Mehmet Topal scored for Basaksehir seven minutes later before Mbappe sealed a comfortable win for PSG 5-1 in the 62nd minute.
Neymar also set a record in the match to become the first player to complete 20 goals for two clubs in the history of the tournament, a feat that neither Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo have achieved.