A Paris Saint-Germain without Kylian Mbappé failed in his absence in the Ligue 1 match against Nice, when Mauricio Pochettino’s men were beaten 1-0 by Andy Delort’s goal at the Allianz Riviera.
Host Christophe Galtier scored a spectacular final win over favorites in Saturday’s match to move up to second place as their hosts struggled to perform without the French striker at the top of the table.
The striker, who tops the Ligue 1 combined goals and assists table this season, was sent off after receiving a match suspension following a yellow card against Nantes last month.
With the Parisians leading the title race 13 points clear of their rivals, they hope to find the spark in time for next week’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid.
With only two shots on target all night, they would struggle to say they deserve the spoils, with Lionel Messi and Neymar unable to catch up with Mbappe’s lack of presence.
In a match with few brilliant chances, Khephren Thuram failed to deflect a direct six-yard pass to the hosts in the second half, while Thilo Kehrer hit a soft header straight to Walter Benítez from Neymar’s free-kick.
A brilliant counter attack by Ángel Di María prompted PSG to score a late goal, but instead found himself on the wrong side of the scoreboard when Delort entered from top right in the 88th minute.
The visitors avoided a VAR penalty for a foul on Jordan Lotomba in injury time, but it was too late to repair the damage, leaving them condemned to a second defeat in their last three league games.
What does it mean? Mbappe’s disappearance reveals a long-standing concern
Mbappé’s absence was deeply felt as PSG slipped to their third defeat of the season in the league and a lack of intelligence control in the last third made it clear that he will have to look for a suitable replacement if he leaves.
The 23-year-old, whose contract expires this summer, remains strongly tied to the move to Real Madrid, leaving Parisians with a looming headache over how to recover their potential loss.
As for Nice, coach Galtier has already scored 17 points in 21 Ligue 1 games against PSG since he took over from QSI in 2011-12, more than any other manager.
Delort rewards faith with super glory
The Algerian striker will have had to settle for his debut from the bench at the Mediterranean this weekend, but he will have nothing to complain about after the most important goal of his career in Nice.
With seven shots in 21 league appearances this season, the 30-year-old continues to show why Galtier wanted it to be one of his best signings from Montpellier last summer.
Messi takes the last abnormal action
PSG’s difficulties in reaching the end of the pitch meant the Ballon d’Or holder felt left out of much of the action and unable to impress his brand control over matches.
With just one offside, his main contribution to offensive play was another quiet evening for the veteran, who has struggled to transpose his Barcelona magic since arriving in Paris.
Key data of the option:
- Nice beat the Ligue 1 leaders at the start of the second half of the season for the first time since 21 March 2015 in Lyon (2-1).
Nice are the second team to accumulate three official matches without conceding against Paris in a season, with Bordeaux in 1986/87 (1-0 at the Champions Trophy, then 2-0 and 0-0 at Ligue 1).
- PSG have lost two consecutive Ligue 1 away games in the same season for the first time since April 2019 (three in a row in Lille, Nantes and Montpellier).
- The guests started for the fourth time in their Ligue 1 history with a team without a match for France after 22 September 2019 (1-0 v Lyon), 31 August 2014 (5-0 v Saint-Etienne ) and on 1 December 2013 (4-0 against Lyon).
- Nice had 15 tackles against PSG, the best total this season in Ligue 1, as well as 15 tackles against the same opponent on 1 December.
PSG are focused on securing a place in the Champions League quarter-finals against Real Madrid on Wednesday as Nice prepare for a trip to the coast to meet Montpellier next weekend.