Tue, Dec 16, 2014 - Page 18 News List

PSG beaten, while leaders ‘l’OM’ stumble at Monaco

AP, PARIS

En Avant de Guingamp’s Lars Jacobsen, bottom, vies for the ball with Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their Ligue 1 match at the Stade du Roudourou in Guingamp, France, on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Jeremy Pied headed home the winner and goalkeeper Jonas Lossl denied Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a decisive save in the closing stages as defending champions Paris Saint-Germain slumped to their first defeat in Ligue 1 with a 1-0 loss at En Avant de Guingamp on Sunday.

However, leaders Olympique de Marseille did not take advantage of their rivals’ stumble as Marcelo Bielsa’s team also lost 1-0 at AS Monaco. Bernardo Silva scored the winner, preventing Marseille from extending their lead at the top the standings to four points.

After losing 3-1 last week to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League, PSG could not recover from their first major setback of the season and looked bereft of ideas against an entertaining Guingamp side.

Although PSG almost opened the scoring when Edinson Cavani’s volley brushed the woodwork, Guingamp were the better team and deservedly moved ahead after David Luiz fouled Pied.

PSG defenders were caught napping on the resulting free-kick as Younousse Sankhare was left unmarked in the penalty area and headed the ball for Pied, who beat goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu with a diving header in the 11th minute.

“I’m not satisfied with my team’s showing. I was really disappointed by our first half, especially after we warned the players about Guingamp’s quality on set-pieces,” PSG coach Laurent Blanc said. “This loss embodies our struggles since the start of the league season. We were made to pay for the lack of aggressiveness I have been ruing for a while.”

PSG remained second in the standings, while Guingamp, which has one of the smallest budgets in the league, climbed to 13th.

Guingamp, who reached the UEFA Europa League round-of-32 for the first time last week, had a good chance to double their lead soon after the interval when Claudio Beauvue forced Sirigu to parry the ball with a fine shot from the edge of the area after being picked out by Sankhare.

With three minutes remaining, Ibrahimovic connected with a cross from Gregory van der Wiel, but the Sweden striker’s shot from close range was saved by Lossl and the PSG forward could not score from the rebound.

In Monaco, Silva concluded a fine move in the 67th minute for his first goal for the club, slotting home from Anthony Martial’s cut-back after Yannick Ferreira Carrasco cleverly dummied the ball.

It was Marseille’s fourth league defeat this season, while Monaco, last-year’s runner-up, climbed to sixth.

After struggling with consistency and goals, Monaco have been forced to play catch-up with the leaders, but they are finally hitting form and qualified as group winners for the Champions League knockout phase last week.

“When you look at others’ results, this is a big disappointment,” Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda said. “Monaco were well organized and imposed their rhythm on us. There is one more match to play next week, we need to finish on a high to go on holiday with peace of mind.”

Earlier, AS Saint-Etienne extended their unbeaten run in the league to nine games following a lackluster 0-0 draw at OGC Nice, before LOSC Lille Metropole moved to 12th with a 3-0 win over Toulouse.

After being knocked out of the Europa League, Saint-Etienne appeared tired and powerless against a well-organized Nice side that did not create many chances either.

Saint-Etienne substitute Max-Alain Gradel had his team’s best opportunity in the 90th minute with a shot onto the post from a tight angle.

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