Football

No Neymar, but PSG can beat Real: Emery

They may be without their injured star player, but Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery believes that the French side are still good enough to overcome Real Madrid.

Neymar was ruled out of the game after undergoing surgery on Saturday to repair a fractured metatarsal on his right foot.

"Our team, even without Neymar, are able to beat the best Real Madrid team," Emery said, ahead of their Champions League last-16, second leg at the Parc des Princes tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

PSG fullback Dani Alves echoed his coach's sentiments, saying: "With Neymar, PSG are stronger, but we are still strong without him... either we sit and cry, or we stand on our feet and fight."

If they are to knock out the defending champions, PSG will need to be more focused than during the first leg, when they conceded two goals in the last 10 minutes.

"In the first leg, we played better, had the best opportunities. But this time, we need to do that for 90 minutes, not just 80," Alves said.

Asked if he has been in touch with Neymar, Alves said: "I speak with him practically every day, so yes we have agreed between us that we would see each other again later on in this competition."

Emery is hoping for the Parc des Princes crowd to play their part.

"You play a game with your head and your heart. Tomorrow, the heart will be the most important thing," Emery said. "And we will be playing with 12 players tomorrow because we will have the backing of the crowd."

In Neymar's absence, Angel di Maria is likely to start against his former club, alongside Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.

PSG centre-back Marquinhos and midfielder Marco Verratti are expected to shake off fitness concerns, while Real's midfield duo Toni Kroos and Luka Modric have travelled to Paris despite carrying injuries. - REUTERS, AFP

Football