PSG Succumbs to First Defeat in Absence of Messi and Neymar

Paris-Saint Germain succumbed to their first defeat of this year’s French League tournament to Lens on January 01, 2023. PSG was without their 2 superstars – Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. and their absence from the field could be seen as they lost to the 2nd-placed Lens 1-3. PSG still leads the French League points table but with this win, Lens has come close to the table leaders. Only 4 points separate the top 2 teams of the French League. 

2 of PSG’s mainstays did not take the field in the match against Lens on Sunday. Neymar Jr. missed the match due to a suspension while Lionel Messi has just returned to training after an extended vacation post-FIFA World Cup 2022 glory. In the absence of these 2 stalwarts, Lens successfully kept Mbappe quiet for most of the game. 

Lens was able to successfully expose PSG’s weakness in the counterattacking department. Lens scored at the start of each half to secure a 3-1 victory against its southern counterparts which helped it maintain a perfect home record. The victory against PSG on 1st January was Lens’ 9th straight home victory. 

PSG Coach Christophe Galtie’s decision to play Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi after a strenuous FIFA World Cup 2022 clearly backfired as both the players looked fatigued on the field. In the post-match presentation, Galtie declared that both Mbappe and Hakimi will be rested for the next match against Châteauroux scheduled to be played on Friday 06th January.

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