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Soccer: Messi totals 3 assists, Neymar stretchered off in PSG win

Soccer: Messi totals 3 assists, Neymar stretchered off in PSG win
Brazilian striker Neymar sustained an ankle injury in the second half of PSG's win over St-Etienne on Sunday in Saint Etienne, France. Photo by Peter Powell/EPA-EFE

Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Lionel Messi totaled three assists, but a gruesome Neymar Jr. ankle injury overshadowed the pristine performance in a PSG win over St-Etienne on Sunday in Saint-Etienne, France.

PSG defender Marquinhos scored twice in the 3-1 victory. Argentine midfielder Angel Di Maria also scored in the Ligue 1 triumph.

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"We had a good performance and leave with the win and three points," defender Sergio Ramos, who made his PSG debut, told the team website.

"We have to continue in this vein and keep working."

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Neymar was stretchered off the field in the 84th minute. PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino said the Brazilian striker twisted his ankle will get it examined Monday.

Right wing Denis Bouanga gave St-Etienne a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute. PSG goalie Gianluigi Donnarumma blocked an initial shot during the sequence.

The ball deflected back out into the box. Bouanga blasted a right-footed follow-up shot into the back of the net.

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St-Etienne held the one-goal lead for most of the half. Marquinhos netted an equalizer in first-half stoppage time. Messi sent in a free kick from about 35 yards out to spark that score.

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The feed curled into the box. Marquinhos jumped between a crowd of defenders and flicked a header into the near-post netting.

Di Maria gave PSG a 2-1 lead in the 79th minute off another Messi helper. Messi sent a quick pass to his left to find the winger in the box.

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Di Maria tapped the ball down and used his second touch to bend a shot into the far-post netting.

PSG lost Neymar to his ankle injury less than five minutes later. Neymar received a pass in PSG's half at the start of that sequence. He attempted to dribble away from St-Etienne's Ryad Boudebouz.

The St-Etienne winger slid in from behind the Brazilian. Neymar's left ankle got caught under Boudebouz's leg during the tackle. Neymar fell to the ground, streaming from the pain.

He was then taken off the field on a stretcher.

Marquinhos capped the scoring with another PSG goal in the 90th minute. Messi dribbled down to the left end line and fired a cross to his right.

The pass drifted into the middle of the box. Marquinhos finished the play with a header into the left side of the net.

PSG hosts Nice in another Ligue 1 match at 3 p.m. EST Wednesday in Paris. St-Etienne battles Brest in Ligue 1 at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Brest, France.

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