- Associated Press - Sunday, December 14, 2014

PARIS (AP) - Jeremy Pied headed home the winner and goalkeeper Jonas Lossl denied Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a decisive save in the closing stages as defending champion Paris Saint-Germain slumped to its first defeat in the French league with a 1-0 loss at Guingamp on Sunday.

Leader Marseille did not take advantage of its rival’s stumble as Marcelo Bielsa’s team also lost 1-0 at Monaco. Bernardo Silva scored the winner, preventing Marseille from extending its lead atop the standings to four points.

After losing 3-1 midweek to Barcelona in Europe’s top-tier competition, PSG could not recover from its first major setback of the season and looked bereft of ideas against an entertaining Guingamp side.

Although PSG almost opened the scoring when Edinson Cavani’s volley brushed the woodwork, Guingamp was the better team and deservedly moved ahead after David Luiz fouled Pied. PSG defenders were caught napping on the resulting free kick as Younousse Sankhare was left unmarked in the box and headed the ball for Pied, who beat goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu with a diving header in the 11th minute.

“I’m not satisfied with my team’s showing. I was really disappointed by our first half especially after we warned the players about Guingamp’s quality on set pieces,” PSG coach Laurent Blanc said. “This loss embodies our struggles since the start of the league season. We were made to pay for the lack of aggressiveness I have been ruing for a while.”

PSG remained second in the standings one point behind Marseille. Guingamp, which has one of the smallest budgets in the league, climbed to 13th overall, four points away from the relegation zone.

Guingamp, which reached the Europa League round-of-32 for the first time this week, had a good chance to double its lead soon after the interval when Claudio Beauvue forced Sirigu to parry the ball into the corner with a fine shot from the edge of the box after being picked out by Sankhare.

With three minutes remaining, Ibrahimovic connected with a cross from Gregory van der Wiel but the Sweden striker’s shot from close range was saved by Lossl and the PSG forward could not score from the rebound.

In Monaco, Silva concluded a fine move in the 67th minute for his first goal for the club, slotting home from Anthony Martial’s cut-back after Yannick Ferreira Carrasco cleverly dummied the ball.

It was Marseille’s fourth league defeat this season while Monaco, last-year’s runner-up, climbed to sixth in the standings. After struggling with consistency and goals, Monaco has been forced to play catch-up with the leaders but is finally hitting form and qualified as group winner for the Champions League knockout phase midweek.

“When you look at others’ results, this is a big disappointment,” Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda said. “Monaco was well organized and imposed its rhythm on us. There is one more match to play next week, we need to finish on a high to go on holidays with peace of mind.”

Earlier, Saint-Etienne extended its unbeaten run in the league to nine games following a lackluster 0-0 draw at Nice before Lille moved to 12th with a 3-0 win over Toulouse.

After being knocked out from the Europa League, Saint-Etienne appeared tired and powerless against a well-organized Nice side that did not create many chances either.

Saint-Etienne substitute Max-Alain Gradel had his team’s best opportunity in the 90th minute with a shot onto the post from a tight angle.

Christophe Galtier’s side kept a fifth consecutive clean sheet and remained fourth in the standings but lost ground in the race for the Champions League places, now lagging three points behind bitter rival Lyon.

Tempers frayed toward the end of the first half after Ismael Diomande deliberately stopped Carlos Eduardo’s run down the right flank, with the Brazilian responding by sending his foot into the midfielder’s head. Referee Lionel Jaffredo wasted little time listening to both teams’ arguments and sent off both players.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide