Neymar was sent off on his first Ligue 1 start in two months as part of a dramatic finale to Paris Saint-Germain’s 1-0 defeat to Lille in a barnstorming top-of-the-table clash.
The Brazilian forward injured his adductor as a substitute against Marseille at the beginning of February but was unable to inspire the champions in a game settled by Jonathan David’s 20th minute goal on his return to the starting XI.
It was a frustrating day for Neymar who had missed two great chances before receiving a second yellow card and subsequent red for a shove on Tiago Djalo as frustrations boiled over in the closing stages.
Djalo was also shown red having already been booked but Lille moved three points clear of PSG, who have now lost three home games on the spin in Ligue 1 for the first time since October 2007.
Neymar would have expected to hit the back of the net with an acrobatic effort after being expertly teed up by Angel Di Maria, who also set Kylian Mbappe racing free only for his left-foot effort to be brilliantly saved by Mike Maignan.
Lille succeeded where PSG failed after 20 minutes when Jonathan Bamba led a lightning counter-attack to pick out David, whose shot deflected off Thilo Kehrer and over a helpless Keylor Navas.
Moise Kean also tested Maignan and Lille – who lost David to injury before the break – found plenty of success utilising pace against a static PSG defence in a frenetic encounter.
Di Maria saw a tentative penalty claim waved away before Neymar and Bamba traded well-struck long-range efforts.
It was Neymar again who really ought to have done better for PSG when stooping to head Marquinhos’ right-wing cross wide with 20 minutes to play, while Burak Yilmaz – who scored four times for Turkey during the international break – shot straight at Navas with a great chance to wrap it up for Lille.
Tempers then boiled over as Neymar, already booked for pushing Andre in the face, lost his cool trying to get the ball back from Djalo, who was also dismissed for his role in the unsavoury finish.
What does it mean? Poch needs some home comforts, fast
Since beating Nice 2-1 on February 13, PSG’s only home win in any competition came against Lille in the Coupe de France.
This title race is far from done and Lille’s shock loss to Nimes last time out may yet prove crucial.
But Pochettino, who saw his side lose to Monaco and Nantes at the Parc des Princes in Ligue 1 prior to this game, needs to address their home slide.
Lille wait on David injury
The visitors will be waiting anxiously for news on David, who did not register a Ligue 1 goal this term until November but now has 10 for the campaign.
His running caused PSG plenty of problems, as did his ability to constantly find space behind the defence before going off injured. Lille can ill afford to lose him for a long period of time with things so tight at the top.
More lost time for Neymar
Neymar’s previous start in the top flight came against Lorient on January 31, with the Brazilian forward injuring his adductor as a substitute against Marseille the following week.
He returned off the bench against Lyon prior to the international break but a needless red here means PSG will be without one of their star men again at a time when the title race hangs in the balance.
Neymar played three key passes in a typically busy display and also had seven shots, but only one of those hit the target on a day to forget for the superstar forward.
PSG now switch focus to Wednesday’s huge Champions League last-eight first-leg showdown with Bayern Munich, whom they lost to in the final of last season’s showpiece. Lille are next in action on Friday when they visit Metz.