Kylian Mbappe returned from a post-World Cup holiday but Paris Saint-Germain fell 1-0 to Rennes in Ligue 1 on Sunday, a result that leaves them just three points clear at the top of the league. mid-season table. .
Rennes captain Hamari Traore scored the only goal of the game in the 65th minute in the rain in Brittany to condemn PSG to a second consecutive league defeat away from home after they fell 3-1 to second-placed Lens New Year’s Day.
Before that, they had been unbeaten in their opening 23 games this season in all competitions and this latest setback gives hope to their rivals in the title race.
“I’m disappointed with our performance because we conceded too many chances and we didn’t create anything,” said PSG manager Christophe Galtier, who complained of a “total lack of presence in the penalty area” after opting to leave Mbappé on the bench. in the throw-in. off.
This was the first time Mbappé, Lionel Messi and Neymar had appeared on the pitch together since PSG’s superstar attacking trio returned from the World Cup.
Messi had been granted an extended holiday after guiding Argentina to glory in Doha and scored on his return in a 2-0 win against Angers in midweek.
Mbappé, who scored a hat-trick for France in the World Cup final when they lost on penalties to Argentina, had played in his club’s first two matches after the tournament before missing the last two while on vacation in New York with his companion Achraf. Hakimi.
He was expected to start on Sunday but started on the bench when 20-year-old Hugo Ekitike was playing opposite Messi and Neymar.
Without their top scorer, PSG were forceful up front and Rennes goalkeeper Steve Mandanda didn’t make a notable save until he saved Danilo Pereira’s header three minutes into the second half.
Mbappé came on for Ekitike in the 56th minute and did so to the applause of the local fans.
However, Rennes took the lead soon after when their Malian right-back Traore swept away a cut from Adrien Truffert, and Mbappe, making his 200th Ligue 1 appearance, then squandered an equalizing chance when he stormed on goal but blazed. with only the goalkeeper to beat.
– Neymar and Messi fight –
With Neymar ineffective again and Messi without the expected impact, it was Juan Bernat who came closest to equalizing for PSG with a shot deflected by Mandanda.
Galtier hopes his attacking trio can rediscover their early season form quickly with a Champions League round of 16 showdown with Bayern Munich now just a month away.
“For eight weeks, the team has been spread all over the place, with players learning different ways of playing for their national teams,” Galtier said when asked if he was concerned about his team’s current form.
“We had two training sessions this week where everyone worked together. We will need time and we will have time to work together and play again in the same direct style as before.”
Rennes, which recently lost top scorer Martin Terrier for the rest of the season to a serious knee injury, have now won nine straight home league games.
They are fifth in the table, trailing Monaco in fourth place only on goals scored after the team from the principality crushed Ajaccio 7-1 earlier in the day.
Wissam Ben Yedder scored a hat-trick in Monaco’s win while Canada’s Jonathan David scored twice as Lille crushed Troyes 5-1 to sit sixth.
Lens are PSG’s closest rivals after beating Auxerre 1-0 on Saturday for their tenth straight home win.
Marseille are third, two points behind Lens and five ahead of both Monaco and Rennes, after beating Lorient 3-1 on Saturday.