Ligue 1: uninspired, PSG loses in Nice a few days before its meeting against Real Madrid



Only one person is missing… Without Kylian Mbappé, suspended, Paris Saint-Germain did not show much in Nice and ended up being surprised on the Côte d’Azur (1-0), Saturday March 5. PSG folded on a goal at the very end of the match from Andy Delort (88th). Four days from finding Real Madrid in the knockout stages of the Champions League, the performance is nothing to reassure. She at least had the merit of confirming once again that Mauricio Pochettino’s team cannot do it against the Gym, who will not have conceded a single goal against the Ligue 1 leader this season. And that PSG without Kylian Mbappé is a much less dangerous team. Nice, him, makes an increasingly convincing dolphin.

The Parisian team even proved frankly harmless and boring at the Allianz Riviera on Saturday. The capital club may have an increasingly relevant Lionel Messi in recent weeks, but the former FC Barcelona star was no more inspired than the rest of his teammates. Without an anchor to weigh on the Nice defense, nor a spark to undermine it, the visitors had the ball but never really knew what to do with it. They showed an almost total lack of depth except for a flash, a counter from Di Maria stopped by Walter Benitez (10th), after being launched by Neymar from his own camp on a kick stopped badly played by Nice.

Marco Verratti may have attracted the ball as usual, or Neymar made more efforts than usual to clinch and make defensive efforts. Without rhythm, possession is nothing for this Paris, which has seen twice as many of its shots being blocked as finding the frame. And it was not Georginio Wijnaldum, once again ghostly (28 balls hit in 96 minutes), who could change anything.

Nice could even almost have regretted not having been able to take better advantage of the evening without their opponent. Applied, hard-hitting, like a bleeding Amine Gouiri, the Aiglons only lacked precision around the Parisian goal, like Justin Kluivert (84th). But Christophe Galtier’s plan will have worked until the end. After being rigorous, as in the first two clashes of the season against PSG, the locals took the Parisians to their own game, in the last minutes which have smiled so much on them this season. And Nice made the difference thanks to three players who entered the game. On a ball recovered by Hicham Boudaoui, then a perfect cross from Calvin Stengs, Andy Delort crucified Keylor Navas with a powerful volley under the bar (88th).

Such a scenario in the Champions League could be fatal, especially since Nice saw the 2-0 penalty denied to them in the dying seconds. It will take much more for Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday to convert its narrow victory in the first leg (1-0) against Real, winner at the same time 4-1 of Real Sociedad at the end of an attacking festival. But at Santiago-Bernabeu, PSG should be able to count on Kylian Mbappé. And right now, that changes everything.



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