Nantes keep PSG waiting for title
Paris Saint-Germain suffered a second successive defeat as they were beaten 3-2 at FC Nantes on Wednesday to leave the Ligue 1 Conforama leaders still waiting to clinch the 2018/19 title.
FC Nantes 3-2 Paris Saint-Germain
After Sunday's shock 5-1 loss at LOSC Lille, PSG were still expected to claim the point that would clinch them the title as they travelled to the Stade de la Beaujoire where they had not lost since 2004.
No fewer than nine first-team regulars, including the suspended Marco Verratti, the injured Neymar Jr, and the rested Kylian Mbappé, were missing while coach Thomas Tuchel, serving a touchline ban, was consigned to the press stand, and Nantes — victors over Olympique Lyonnais last time out — sought to take advantage to wipe away their top-flight survival doubts.
Kalifa Coulibaly, who opened the scoring against Lyon, might have done so again had Gianluigi Buffon been caught cold by the rangy striker's header after he had brushed past Presnel Kimpembe — PSG captain for the night — to reach a Charles Traoré cross (13').
Leandro Paredes' through ball for Moussa Diaby gave the young striker an opportunity to put the visitors in the driving seat, but after rounding Maxime Dupé in the Nantes goal, he could not force the ball home (16').
Instead, it was a man at the opposite end of his career, Dani Alves, who did so. It was another collector's item from the Brazil international, who — after receiving the ball from Paredes — sent a delicious lob over Dupé from all of 30 metres (19').
Nantes, a precarious nine points above the bottom three at kick-off, had kept just two clean sheets in their previous nine home games, so conceding was no surprise; given they had also failed to score in just one of their last 12 outings at the Beaujoire, the fact they hit back quickly was equally to be expected.
The scorer was less likely. Diego Carlos had found the net just three times in 91 Ligue 1 Conforama games, but the Brazilian centre-back added to his tally with a back-post header after escaping the attentions of Stanley N'Soki (23').
Edgar Ié stepped across to snuff out any danger Diaby might have posed (36'), and the young forward then stretched Dupé (38'), but it was Nantes who moved ahead before the break.
Thilo Kehrer was caught out by Coulibaly, who moved into the box before picking out Samuel Moutoussamy — the midfielder miscued his shot, but it served Majeed Waris perfectly, and the Ghana international finished from close range (44') to celebrate his 100th Ligue 1 Conforama appearance in style.
PSG had conceded seven goals in their previous two league games — as many as in their previous 14 — and six minutes into the second half, they took that tally into double figures from three games for the first time since 1985 in an untidy fashion.
Valentin Rongier's corner was not cleared by the PSG defence, and when it looked like it might be, the ball ricocheted off Dani Alves with Diego Carlos also in close attendance and sped past a surprised Buffon to give Nantes some breathing space (51').
The veteran Italian goalkeeper denied Waris a fourth (67') before PSG rallied. Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting found the woodwork when his shot was deflected by Dupé (78') before Metehan Guclu, who had come off the bench with 17 minutes to go to make his top-flight debut, reduced the deficit to one (90') but with not enough time for Tuchel's men to clinch the title.
THE PLAYER: Diego Carlos
Uncompromising at the back, the Brazilian centre-back has been one of Nantes' most consistent performers in recent seasons, and deserves his moment of glory in the opposition's final third.
THE STAT: 25
This was the first time since 5 April 1994 and a 3-0 loss at Nantes that PSG had conceded more than a single goal at the Stade de la Beaujoire, a run of 22 matches.