JONATHAN SHALLARD REPORTING —- Paris Saint-Germain continued in the Champions League as expected by defeating Basaksehir Istanbul 5-1 in the 76 minutes which remained to be played from the tie which was abandoned on Tuesday night.
That game was halted after an explosive incident in which the Turkish club’s players accused the fourth official of using a racist term against Basaksehir assistant coach Pierre Webo. The players walked off the pitch and were followed, in a gesture of solidarity, by the PSG stars.
European federation UEFA opened a disciplinary investigation and authorised the match’s continuance with a set of Dutch match officials.
The action saw PSG’s Brazilian superstar Neymar score his third Champions League hat-trick with the other two goals coming from French World Cup-winner Kylian Mbappe. One goal was a penalty after a foul on Neymar.
Mehmet Topal struck Basaksehir’s consolation in a tie which ended with PSG topping the group ahead of RB Leipzig.
Mbappe said later: “Of course, I am proud of what was done. We were not disappointed not to play. We made that decision. We were proud. A lot of things were said but, in fact, there’s nothing better than actions.
“Now we are tired. We don’t want to go through this again.”
Midfielder Marco Verratti added: “It was tough for everyone – for us on the pitch, for everyone watching the match – it was something that shouldn’t happen. We should be examples, especially because we are followed by millions of people.
“That’s why we did a strong gesture and decided, with the other team, not to play.”
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel supported his players, saying: “They made a strong decision, they stuck with the other team and made a brave decision. In dressing room it was clear that they wanted to show that reaction.”
Basaksehir coach Okan Buruk said: “The referee should have dealt with the situation but he didn’t and we had to show that we stood with Webo.
“The decision was made by the players. Some wanted to go back to the pitch but we stuck together as a team and it was eventually a team decision. We showed the entire world that we are united.”
Webo – who had been sent off on Tuesday- was allowed to take his place on the away bench, with his red card suspended pending UEFA’s investigation.