Ligue 1 Wrap: Paris Saint-Germain, the league’s runaway leader, was defeated 3-1 at Nantes on Saturday, only their second league defeat of the season.
Even if second-place Marseille wins on Sunday, PSG would still be 10 points ahead, but the style of the defeat appears to be concerning for coach Mauricio Pochettino.
PSG’s league table would be considerably closer if they didn’t have late equalizers and winners this season. This time there was no way out.
Pochettino’s team trailed 3-0 at the break, the first time PSG has lost three goals in the first half since Qatari owners QSI purchased the club 11 years ago.
Nantes took the lead after just four minutes when Randal Kolo Muani scored, and Quentin Merlin, a 19-year-old striker, smashed the ball into the top left corner in the 16th minute to startle PSG.
Dennis Appiah, a Nantes defender, was sent off for dragging back Kylian Mbappe near the end of the first half.
After then, referee Mikael Lesage went to a video review and changed the yellow to red.
Deep into first-half stoppage time, the referee was busy once more when VAR detected a handball by Georginio Wijnaldum. Ludovic Blas, a midfielder, scored the penalty.
Just after halftime, Neymar equalized thanks to an assist from Lionel Messi. It was Neymar’s first start since he hurt his left ankle in late November.
In the 59th minute, Neymar missed a penalty with a weak effort, attempting to fool goalie Alban Lafont but aiming straight at him.
On Tuesday, Mbappe scored a spectacular late winner against Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
However, when he lost possession near the edge of the Nantes penalty area, the hosts launched a remarkable counterattack. Moses Simon, a Nigerian attacker, slipped a pass to Kolo Muani, who slipped the ball between the legs of Keylor Navas, the goalkeeper.
Antoine Kombouare, the Nantes coach, was previously in charge of PSG. Despite PSG’s three-point lead at the time, he was sacked midway through the 2011-12 season in favor of Carlo Ancelotti. Montpellier came out on top by three points, with PSG in second place.
Kolo Muani’s early goal had Kombouare turning to the home crowd and thumping his fist.
The audience erupted when Lafont saved a goal from Messi, and then again when he stopped Idrissa Gueye of Senegal and Neymar of Brazil in rapid succession. Within 30 hectic minutes, Navas saved PSG with a brilliant stop from Simon.
PSG midfielder Marco Verratti was issued a yellow card for constant protesting during an entertaining first half, and Blas curled just wide from beyond the area after PSG lost the ball.
Last season, Kombouare saved Nantes from relegation and has since helped to improve the club where he first established his name as a tough defender.
Nantes climbed into the fifth position on goal differential, with fourth place gaining automatic qualification to the Europa League.
Lens and Lyon play to a 1-1 draw.
Tino Kadewere scored his first goal of the season to help Lyon tie 1-1 with Lens earlier in the day.
Kadewere equalized just before halftime, capitalizing on a rare start this season by turning in Karl Toko Ekambi’s perfect cross to the back post.
Lens took the lead in the 13th minute when defender Jonathan Clauss scored off a rebound after goalkeeper Anthony Lopes had saved forward Arnaud Kalimuendo’s attempt.
In the 80th minute, captain Seko Fofana came near for Lens when Lopes deflected his powerful drive into the crossbar.
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