Fri, Apr 19, 2019 - Page 16 News List

PSG again fail to clinch Ligue 1 title

AFP, NANTES, France

Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday failed to the seal the Ligue 1 title for the third match running after a second-string lineup without dropped Kylian Mbappe took the champions to their second defeat in a matter of days, 3-2 at Nantes.

A Diego Carlos brace and a Majeed Waris tap-in inflicted a third league loss on Thomas Tuchel’s side, who were hammered 5-1 at second-placed Lille OSC on Sunday and drew with RC Strasbourg the previous week, despite Dani Alves’ stunning opener and substitute Metehan Guclu pulling one back late on.

However PSG, who were also playing without a host of other first-team players due to injuries and suspension, remain 17 points clear with six games left.

The runaway leaders could win their sixth title in seven years on Sunday if Lille fail to win at Toulouse and they then beat struggling AS Monaco.

Tuchel refused to reveal if he left Mbappe out of the squad for blasting his teammates for “lacking personality” after the Lille loss, saying that there would be “no explanation” of his decision.

“It’s very easy to analyze, it was a very bad performance, we deserved to lose,” Tuchel said. “We controlled the game at Lille, but today there was no performance for 90 minutes.”

“You can lose and you can make mistakes, and we will always defend the players if we feel that they’ve played with a great attitude and hunger, but today it is not possible,” he said.

Depleted PSG had to thank Gianluigi Buffon 12 minutes in when he managed to push away Kalifa Coulibaly’s header from point-blank range, and seven minutes later Alves appeared to have calmed Parisian nerves with his wonder strike.

There looked to be little on when the Brazilian collected Leandro Paredes’ simple pass, but he quickly lashed an unstoppable dipping drive past Maxime Dupe to score his first Ligue 1 goal this season.

However, just three minutes after the opener, Carlos was allowed too much space to nod home a Valentin Ronger in-swinging corner.

PSG continued to struggle and the hosts grabbed a deserved second just before the break.

Coulibaly was at the heart of it, brushing Thilo Kehrer off the ball on the left flank, before cutting back to Samuel Moutoussamy, whose mishit shot evaded the dozing PSG defense and found Waris for the simplest of tap-ins.

Nantes turned the screw seven minutes after the break from another corner, this one met by a Nicolas Pallois flick-on that crept through a sea of legs to Carlos, who unwittingly knocked in the third.

Guclu crashed home his first-ever PSG goal on his debut in the final minute to give the away side hope that they could still clinch the title with six matches to spare, but despite pressing forward, they could not find the breakthrough.

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