PSG gloomy in Leipzig

Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG) were beaten 2-1 by RB Leipzig.

Are Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG) playing better without Neymar and Kylian Mbappé? Deliberately provocative and imbued with a slight demagoguery, the question deserved to be asked for forty-three minutes. The playing time during which the Parisians – deprived of their two stars, Wednesday, November 4, in the Champions League on the lawn of RB Leipzig – shone before suddenly falling back into their faults.

Beaten in Germany (2-1), for the second time in three days of Group H, PSG – now third with three points – had not fallen away in a group match for two years: 3 -2 against Liverpool, September 19, 2018. Manchester United and Leipzig occupy the first two places with six points.

Read also Champions League: Moise Kean leads a sluggish PSG to victory

Often lackluster in the game since the start of the season, Paris has certainly started well, but has shown itself unable to maintain its level of play for more than half time. An excellent start allowed Thomas Tuchel’s men to open the scoring, before missing a penalty. All this through the same player, Angel Di Maria, whose last penalty attempted – and also missed – in European competition dated back to 2014 in the jersey of Real Madrid.

A quarter of an hour was enough for the trend to reverse: the Germans first equalized two minutes from the break, before transforming their penalty shortly before the hour mark, at the following a hand from Presnel Kimpembe (57e), a regular at this kind of fault.

Before this express turnaround, PSG had yet shown a more than encouraging face. The Parisian club had nothing to doubt since the last time he had been deprived of his two attackers, he had dominated Real Madrid (3-0). It was September 18, 2019, and Angel Di Maria had scored a double …

Another sign of confidence, two and a half months ago, Paris eliminated RB Leipzig in the semifinals of Final 8, organized in Lisbon (3-0 victory). “Dima” was also distinguished there by scoring a goal and delivering two assists.

Nkunku scores his first Champions League goal

In Saxony, the Argentine, who was suspended in the last four Ligue 1 games, began by taking the Parisian offensive game on his own. Clever and confusing, Di Maria quickly materialized, with a ball stung over Peter Gulacsi (6e, 1-0), a superb assist from Moise Kean.

More than just the talent of its two attackers, the opening of the Parisian score owes a lot to the relaunch error of the French defender from Leipzig, Upamecano. Febrile, the former player of Valenciennes is at the origin of the penalty missed by Di Maria, because of a hand fault (15e).

Read also PSG returns to the Champions League with Thomas Tuchel already under pressure

Trained at PSG, Christopher Nkunku has not made a gift to his former club. At the 42e minute, the young French striker of 22 years – left alone on the line of 16.50 m – converted the center in withdrawal of the Spaniard Angelino (1-1) for his first goal in the Champions League. Stunned by this equalization against the course of the game, the Parisians have never managed to recover.

At the 53e minute, Emil Forsberg twice erased defender Danilo before shooting over goalkeeper Keylor Navas. Four minutes later, the Swede was not trembling when converting the penalty awarded to his team (57e, 2-1). Ten minutes after the second German goal, PSG was handicapped by the expulsion of its midfielder, Idrissa Gueye (69e) and knocked out in stoppage time with a second red card addressed to Kimpembe, author of a gross fault of spite.

Before the meeting, Thomas Tuchel had described to RMC Sport the way he wanted his players to evolve in the absence of Neymar and Mbappé: “We don’t ask for more defensive effort because we always ask for it. But yes, without their individual talent, it is necessary that we play as a team. I am convinced that the aligned team have good energy and can play with a lot of intensity. “

Thomas Tuchel more than ever under pressure

While Neymar and Kylian Mbappé are regularly criticized for their lack of defensive involvement and their relative effectiveness – especially in the Champions League – this result shows that they are not the only problem of this PSG.

“It’s hard to explain. We must not be the victim of a less good shot when we concede a goal. We must increase our level of play if we want to go further in a very difficult competition ”, delivered Captain Marquinhos.

Thomas Tuchel's Parisian future seems more uncertain than ever.

The professional defender, once again established in the midfield, defended his coach, who had expressed, the day before at a press conference, his doubts about his own contract extension by declaring “You shouldn’t dream either”: “He is the coach who had the best season in history and we are already talking about his future. Football has no patience. It’s not just his fault, we players always have to do better. We’re missing players, but that’s no excuse. “

RB Leipzig, without its two German international defenders – Marcel Halstenberg and Lukas Klostermann – are back in the race for qualification after their 5-0 defeat against Manchester United last week.

In three weeks, the PSG will imperatively win the beautiful at the reception of the Saxon club. “If we win 1-0 at the Parc des Princes, we will win the direct duel. And then we will have two more games. It is still in our hands and we have no doubts ”, defended Thomas Tuchel. In the absence of contract extension, it is still allowed to dream of the round of 16.

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