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PSG seek European solace in Rennes

Publish on 20/09/2018 at 23h00

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Paris Saint-Germain will seek to shake off the disappointment of their midweek UEFA Champions League defeat as they go to Rennes on Sunday with ambitions of maintaining their 100% start to the Ligue 1 Conforama season.

  Stade Rennais FC - Paris Saint-Germain 

 

Roberto Firmino's late goal for Liverpool condemned PSG to a heartbreaking 3-2 loss at Anfield on Tuesday and inflicted a first competitive defeat of the 2018/19 campaign on Thomas Tuchel's side.

The French champions' reverse was all the more frustrating given they had fought back from two goals down only to let slip a point with virtually the final kick of the game, though Tuchel insisted the performance bodes well for the future.

"Playing here is a big challenge. We did it with confidence and courage, especially in the first half. I was happy, despite the two goals we conceded," said the German tactician, who saw Thomas Meunier and then Kylian Mbappé find the net.

WATCH: PSG make short work of Saint-Etienne

"Our fightback was incredible. To be losing 2-0, here at Anfield and come back to 2-2 is very difficult. The team really did something extraordinary and we had the chance to score that third goal... but we have to accept the result."

"I'm very proud of the team. We have to keep working, but we have the chance to bounce back and go far in this competition, even though we're aware we have to do more," added captain Thiago Silva. "I thought the team showed character."

They have shown themselves to be too good for their domestic opposition so far this season too, registering five straight wins — augmented by their emphatic 4-0 win over AS Saint-Étienne last time out — to already open up a five-point lead at the top of the table.

Ben Arfa is back

The history books dictate the title-holders are likely to maintain that advantage at the very least as they are unbeaten in seven years at Roazhon Park, and won twice their last season — in the league and the Coupe de la Ligue — scoring seven goals in the process.

Current form also does not make great reading for the hosts. Expected to be a serious contender for a top-four finish, Sabri Lamouchi's side have stumbled out of the blocks with two wins cancelled out by as many defeats, including the last-gasp 2-1 loss at OGC Nice last time out.

There was better news on Thursday, however, as the Breton club — back in European competition for the first time in seven years — registered a 2-1 win over Czech outfit Jablonec in their opening UEFA Europa League group stage tie.

WATCH: Rennes find it's not so nice in Nice


The win came courtesy of Hatem ben Arfa, lifelong PSG fan and — up until last summer — also one of their players, and who only left the Parc des Princes after being frozen out of the first-team picture for the entire 2017/18 season, his second in the French capital.

"We have set ourselves a target, him and I, we know where we want to go. We hadn't imagined a scenario like tonight, that's the icing on the cake," said Lamouchi of his high-profile summer recruit, who tucked away a matchwinning penalty with seconds left.

"We saw some promising flashes. For the penalty, he took responsibility, and that is proof of a great player who comes in, says hello, and who takes on responsibility. It's great. If Hatem does the same thing against Paris, I'm buying, I'll buy a round for everyone."

Probable teams

Rennes: Koubek; Traoré, Da Silva, Gélin, Bensebaini; Grenier, André (c), Léa-Siliki; Sarr, Niang, Bourigeaud

Paris SG: Buffon; Meunier, Thiago Silva (c), Kimpembe, Bernat; Verratti, Rabiot, Di María; Draxler, Cavani, Neymar