PARIS: Paris St Germain suffered yet another setback as they slumped to their first Ligue 1 home defeat of the season when they were beaten 2-0 by Stade Rennais on Sunday.
PSG lead second-placed Olympique de Marseille, who ended Stade de Reims’s 19-game unbeaten run in the league with a 2-1 away win, by seven points, but the capital side were knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich earlier this month and eliminated from the French Cup by Marseille.
That left only the league title to focus on, and Sunday’s performance at the Parc des Princes exposed their shortcomings.
Once again, their attacking plans were limited to finding Kylian Mbappe, while the defence was not up to the task in the absence of the injured Presnel Kimpembe and Marquinhos.
Rennes, who prevailed with goals by Karl Toko Ekambi and Arnaud Kalimuendo, moved up to fifth on 50 points from 28 games, 16 behind PSG.
Monaco are fourth on 54 after beating AC Ajaccio 2-0 away earlier on Sunday.Mbappe had two attempts brilliantly denied by Steve Mandanda — a fine chip by the France forward in the 26th minute and a powerful shot from inside the area five minutes from the break.
Rennes, instead, made the most of their chances.
On the stroke of halftime, Toko Ekambi collected a superb long pass from Benjamin Bourigeaud and fired home from just inside the box, making up for a couple of earlier bad choices.
Rennes doubled their advantage with their second shot on target, three minutes into the second half, as Kalimuendo latched on to a cross from Lesley Ugochukwu to beat Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Later on Sunday, Alexis Sanchez netted a double to give Marseille all three points at Reims, who had gone unbeaten in Ligue 1 for six months.
Reims, who had opened the scoring through Folarin Balogun, are ninth on 43 points.
Nice lost ground in the race for Europe but are now unbeaten in 13 games since Didier Digard was named coach in January after a 1-1 draw at home to Lorient.There were also wins for Strasbourg and Montpellier.
Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2023
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