PSG lead in Ligue 1 cut after latest defeat


PSG lead in Ligue 1 cut after latest defeat
Achraf Hakimi trudges past Lionel Messi after being sent off in the first half of PSG's defeat by Lorient on Sunday / © AFP

Paris Saint-Germain's lead at the top of Ligue 1 was cut to five points on Sunday after Achraf Hakimi was sent off in their 3-1 home defeat by Lorient and nearest rivals Marseille beat Auxerre 2-1.

Mid-table Lorient were already ahead through Enzo Le Fee's early goal at the Parc des Princes before Hakimi was dismissed for a second yellow card inside the opening 20 minutes.

Kylian Mbappe equalised for the home side in opportunistic fashion, pouncing to score after Lorient goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo had thrown the ball to the ground wrongly thinking the referee had blown for a free-kick.

Yet Lorient deservedly retook the lead before half-time when Darlin Yongwa converted from close range, and they made sure of the win late on when Bamba Dieng ran through unchallenged to score at the second attempt after Gianluigi Donnarumma had stopped his shot.

The final whistle was met with loud jeers from the home support in a stadium where one end was closed as a punishment after fans let off flares during a recent defeat by Lyon.

It was PSG's sixth Ligue 1 loss of 2023 and it allowed Marseille to close in, casting new doubt on the capital club's quest to win a French record 11th league title.

- Marseille win -

Marseille came from behind to win at home to Auxerre, with Cengiz Under's 75th-minute strike cancelling out Birama Toure's opener for their relegation-threatened opponents.

PSG lead in Ligue 1 cut after latest defeat
Lorient players celebrate with their supporters after their 3-1 win away to PSG / © AFP

Alexis Sanchez then clinched all three points for Marseille on 77 minutes with his 13th league goal this season.

Third-placed Lens will move to within six points of PSG if they beat Toulouse away in midweek.

"Our second half of the season has been very, very average. Too many players seem distracted," said PSG coach Christophe Galtier, who called Hakimi's second yellow card "really stupid".

"Everyone in the dressing room is disappointed, and what I expect now is a reaction from everyone, from the players, the staff and everyone who works for the club," Luis Campos, who is effectively PSG's sporting director in his role of football advisor, told broadcaster Canal Plus.

"There must be a reaction and we have to win the title. I am sure we will do it but we need to make sure we don't lose our heads. We need to be conscious of the fact we can do better and must do better."

PSG, who had Neymar watching in the stands as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury, had not lost a home league game while conceding three goals since October 2010.

That was the final season before the Qatari takeover that transformed the club.

PSG's next four games are against Troyes, Ajaccio, Auxerre and Strasbourg, four clubs who are either in the relegation zone or fighting to avoid the drop.

Marseille and Lens also play each other next weekend, and it remains highly unlikely that the Parisians might fail to retain their league crown.

- Monaco lose heavily -

Monaco's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League were dealt a new blow in a comprehensive 4-0 home defeat against Montpellier.

Arnaud Nordin scored twice for Montpellier, with Faitout Maouassa and English former Arsenal winger Stephy Mavididi also on target.

It was a second successive heavy defeat for Monaco, after they went down 3-0 at Lens last weekend.

They remain fourth in the table, five points behind third-placed Lens.

PSG lead in Ligue 1 cut after latest defeat
Alexis Sanchez celebrates with Sead Kolasinac after scoring Marseille's winner against Auxerre / © AFP

Only the top three in Ligue 1 qualify for the Champions League with the team in fourth going into the Europa League alongside the winners of the French Cup.

Toulouse won the French Cup on Saturday with a crushing 5-1 win over holders Nantes in the final watched by over 78,000 at the Stade de France.

Rennes, who are sixth, boosted their hopes of qualifying for Europe by beating bottom side Angers 4-2 on Sunday with Belgium's Jeremy Doku scoring twice.

That result officially condemned Angers to relegation as they are 18 points from safety with five games remaining.

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