Over the course of the match, Neymar got more and more involved. He provoked a few yellow cards along with the Red shown to Celtic’s Brown for aggression in the second half, which was crucial for Lennon’s team as it left them with half an hour to go with a man less. And, to round it off, he was instrumental in Barca’s goal, holding the ball and finding Alexis with pinpoint accuracy on the right to cross for a head-in by Cesc Fabregas, sending the keeper the wrong way.
Tata Martino commented on the Neymar’s performance: “I did not need to watch the game today to realise the type of player he is. He brings a lot to the team, even in defense. Players like him and Leo, who can both unbalance a team, are very necessary when a side tightens up at the back. ”
Neymar gave the Barca fans a few scares, too. It was in the first half when a header by Izaguirre left him groggy. The Barcelona medics, after a quick examination, asked for a change, but the player insisted on going back onto the field.
Argentine coach Martino, on seeing that there were just a few minutes left of the first half, decided to allow him back on and then later in the dressing room decided he should continue in the second half.
Neil Lennon complained at a press conference after the match that Neymar had exaggerated to get Brown sent off. Martino would not go into debate: “From my position I could not see what happened”.
Video evidence suggests that Brown took a swipe at Neymar’s left arm while on the ground after the Celtic player went in hard on the Brazilian.
In the first half, Neymar was caught out play-acting to which the ref looked at him signaling him to get up and get on with play.