PSG have suffered a second loss of the new year away at Rennes for Ligue 1’s final match of gameweek 19. With Kylian Mbappé only deemed fit enough to start on the bench, Les Parisiens stuttered against a resurgent Brittany side with many senior players missing in a game of all-round middling quality.
PSG’s first real opportunity came through Lionel Messi, whose shot went over Steve Mandanda’s. Stade Rennais replied with a penalty box volley from Arnaud Kalimuendo expertly deflected by Gianluigi Donnarumma. Les Rouge et Noir grew into the first half as the Christophe Galtier-led side seemed unable to find any cracks in a tight 5-man Rennes’ defence. The Italian goalkeeper showed he was PSG’s best player on the pitch by thwarting a free-kick from Lovro Majer and a powerful effort from Amine Gouiri.
As the 27.566-strong Roazhon Park roared into life, Les Parisiens came out of their shell in the dying minutes of the first half but failed to register a single shot on target. Rain came pouring on the pitch as second half began, and Rennes still seemed the most likely side to play fluid football. It wasn’t long before Christophe Galtier had seen enough: Enter Kylian Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi.
From then on, Stade Rennais dominated proceedings with PSG resorting to flashes of individual brilliance rather than sustained collective work. Tactically speaking, Bruno Genesio’s side were on point, nullifying their opponent’s strength. Reward finally came for the home side when Adrien Truffert made light work of going around Achraf Hakimi before putting in on a plate for skipper Hamari Traoré, who slotted home with a deft left-footed finish.
Rennes put the fence up and relied on counter-attacking play from then on. But PSG were still mostly lethargic as tiredness kicked in, with no substitutes proving game-changing. Steve Mandanda came to the fore and played his part as the newly-internationally retired goalkeeper diverted a Juan Bernat half-volley in the final minutes.
Rennes cling on to a famous win, becoming the first French outfit to defeat the QSI-led PSG on six different Ligue 1 games. Two weeks after losing away to Lens, PSG fell again away from home, with only a three point lead on the Nord side.
RENNES – 1
Steve Mandanda, 7 – PSG’s clumsiness around the penalty box made him somewhat redundant, but he came up big with an important save on Juan Bernat’s 81th-minute half-volley.
Joseph Rodon, 7 – The Tottenham loanee made sure Warmed Omari’s suspension wasn’t felt by keeping Ekitike and Mbappé mostly at bay. Made an important block against Vitinha in the first half.
Adrien Truffert, 7
Arthur Theate, 6
Christopher Wooh, 6
Hamari Traoré, 8 – Rennes’ skipper did a solid job by snuffing out any left-sided PSG attacks. Showed composure when dispatching home the opener on his left foot. A complete performance.
Lesley Ugochukwu, 7 – The 18-year-old midfielder played without fear and showcased impressive physical abilities. One of Rennes’s brightest youth products.
Lovro Majer, 6
Désiré Doué, 6
Arnaud Kalimuendo, 7 – Rennes’ better opportunities came through him. A constant threat against his former club.
Amine Gouiri, 6
PSG – 0
Gianluigi Donnarumma, 6 The Italian came up big in front of Kalimuendo and was PSG’s best player by a mile in the first 45 minutes. Flawless in his aerial display too and he is not to blame for Rennes’ sole goal.
Sergio Ramos, 3 The Spanish centre-back struggled to match the pace of Gouiri and needlessly conceded fouls. Completely switched off when Rennes scored.
Juan Bernat, 4
Nordi Mukiele, 5
Danilo Pereira, 4 – As with Ramos, he looked sometimes out of sorts against the attacking Rennes players. His ball delivery was poor too.
Warren Zaire-Emery, 6 – The young 16-year-old PSG prospect showed plenty of promise, looking assured with the ball at his feet. He belongs on this stage.
Neymar, 3 – The Brazilan maverick failed to influence PSG’s attacking with the same gusto and flair he showcased this season. An uninspiring and passive display, as if he didn’t know what to do with the ball. He still appaears jittery.
Lionel Messi, 4 – The Argentina playmaker dropped deep more often than so he wasn’t much of a threat for Mandanda. A very quiet game.
Hugo Ekitike, 3 – The in-form PSG striker was handled well by a 5-man Rennes defence and was a hard man to pass the ball to. Subbed off for Kylian Mbappe before the hour mark. The Frenchman showed intent, but rustiness too.
GFFN | Bastien Cheval