Soccer-PSG handed first Ligue 1 home defeat this season by Rennes


Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - Paris St Germain v Stade Rennes - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - March 19, 2023 Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe and Stade Rennes' Christopher Maurice Wooh after the match REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) -Paris St Germain suffered yet another setback as they slumped to their first Ligue 1 home defeat of the season when they were beaten 2-0 by Stade Rennais on Sunday.

While they still lead second-placed RC Lens by nine points in the league standings, PSG were knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich earlier this month and eliminated from the French Cup by Olympique de Marseille in February.

That left only the league title to focus on, and Sunday's performance at the Parc des Princes exposed the capital side's shortcomings and put further pressure on coach Christophe Galtier.

Once again, their attacking plans were limited to finding Kylian Mbappe, while the defence was not up to the task in the absence of the injured Presnel Kimpembe and Marquinhos.

Rennes, who prevailed with goals by Karl Toko Ekambi and Arnaud Kalimuendo, have now beaten PSG twice this season as they moved up to fifth on 50 points from 28 games, 16 behind PSG.

Monaco are fourth on 54 after beating AC Ajaccio 2-0 away earlier on Sunday.

"For sure we played a very bad game. There is little to say. I'm sorry for the fans who are always there. It's not us, it's not our team," said PSG midfielder Vitinha.

"We are very, very sad because we never imagined this. The club don't deserve this. It's not enough. We have to do better in the next game."

Mbappe had two attempts brilliantly denied by Steve Mandanda -- a fine chip by the France forward in the 26th minute and a powerful shot from inside the area five minutes from the break.

Rennes, instead, made the most of their chances.

On the stroke of halftime, Toko Ekambi collected a superb long pass from Benjamin Bourigeaud and fired home from just inside the box, making up for a couple of earlier bad choices.

Rennes doubled their advantage with their second shot on target, three minutes into the second half, as Kalimuendo latched on to a cross from Lesley Ugochukwu to beat Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Forward Hugo Ekitike replaced midfielder Fabian Ruiz while midfielder Renato Sanches came on for defender Juan Bernat before the hour, but it was Rennes who came closest to scoring again through Toko Ekambi.

Third-placed Marseille could reduce PSG's lead to seven points if they beat Stade Reims later on Sunday.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; editing by Pritha Sarkar and Clare Fallon)

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