Paris Saint-Germain clearly need the cool head and experience of David Beckham on the evidence of a careless showing on Sunday at struggling Sochaux-Montbeliard, where the French title hopefuls slid to a shock 3-2 loss.
With the former England star set to make his grand entrance in next weekend’s Clasico against bitter rivals Olympique de Marseille, PSG had expected to cruise six points clear of Olympique Lyonnais, who showed their own mettle earlier with a 4-0 thrashing of Girondins de Bordeaux.
Instead, the Parisians slid to their fourth league defeat of the campaign to leave the title race wide open.
PSG turned in one of their off-color showings to underline just what a Jekyll and Hyde outfit Carlo Ancelotti’s side are.
Midweek had brought an away win at Valencia to leave PSG with one foot in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, but Sunday brought an uncomfortable reality check as Sochaux showed up several flaws in their visitors’ armory.
Beckham was not the only missing piece of the jigsaw, as Jeremy Menez, Thiago Silva and Thiago Motta were all out of action, but they did not lack flair and potential match-winners in the shape of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Javier Pastore.
Alex Costa gave PSG the lead on the half-hour mark with a header from a Pastore corner, but Sochaux roared back and Sebastian Roudet smacked home the equalizer four minutes later.
Ten minutes after the restart, Giovanni Sio scored a beauty for the hosts after a one-two with Roudet.
Having already slain Marseille at home earlier this year, Sochaux were good value for their lead, but on 76 minutes PSG leveled through Mamadou Sakho, who touched on another Pastore corner, though Sochaux defender Jerome Roussillon appeared to get the final touch over the line.
However, with six minutes remaining, Cedric Bakambu fed Algerian midfielder Ryad Boudebouz down the right for Sloan Privat. The striker nodded back for Bakambu, who forced home the winner.
Elsewhere on Sunday, AS Saint-Etienne saw a four-match winning run come to an end with a 1-1 draw at Stade de Reims, which allowed OGC Nice, 1-0 winners at SC Bastia on Saturday, to move above Les Verts in to fourth spot.
Lyon earlier ended a run of three successive defeats by thumping Bordeaux, with youngster Clement Grenier scoring a brace, and fellow up-and-coming stars Gueida Fofana and Alexandre Lacazette adding the others in an impressive performance.