Thursday, June 17, 2021

Brest 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain: Mbappe on target again but PSG lose title to Lille

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 May 2021

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Paris Saint-Germain ceded the Ligue 1 title despite winning their final match of the season 2-0 at Brest.

Neymar missed a first-half penalty at Stade Francis-Le Ble before a Romain Faivre own goal and Kylian Mbappe’s 27th league goal of the season made it a routine win for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

But Lille’s 2-1 victory over Angers meant Christophe Galtier’s side completed an incredible triumph by a solitary point.

Results elsewhere were kinder to Brest, with Nantes’ 2-1 loss to Montpellier sparing them participation in the relegation play-off.

PSG’s title hopes took an early blow when Jonathan David gave Lille the lead at Angers and Neymar then spurned a 19th-minute penalty after Faivre’s rash foul on Angel Di Maria.

Brest goalkeeper Gautier Larsonneur engaged in some kidology by standing near his right-hand post for the kick and Neymar duly rolled his shot past the other upright.

Di Maria took matters into his own hands before half-time, albeit with a huge slice of fortune, when his right-wing corner deflected off Faivre and looped beyond Larsonneur.

Brest might have gone in level, only for Steve Mounie to power a close-range header over from Brendan Chardonnet’s cross.

News of Lille’s comfortable position perhaps informed the lack of intensity at the start of the second half, with PSG creating little of note from open play and Di Maria rippled the side-netting with a free-kick.

Mounie erred again when he burst clear of a haphazard visiting backline in the 65th minute, shooting at Keylor Navas’ legs.

PSG were indebted to Navas once more soon afterwards, the former Real Madrid man’s positioning impeccable when Gaetan Charbonnier met Mounie’s knockdown.

Mbappe had existed on the fringes of the contest but was alert to round Larsonneur in the 71st minute and kept his composure to finish after being bundled to the floor by Jean-Kevin Duverne in front of the unguarded net.

Larsonneur denied substitute Mauro Icardi and Mbappe as Brest appeared increasingly forlorn – their fate ultimately saved by others.

What does it mean? PSG’s dominance ended

PSG headed into this season having won Ligue 1 in seven of the past eight years, but theirs has been a campaign laced with chaos. They were playing catch-up from the off after losing the delayed 2020 Champions League final. COVID-19 outbreaks within the squad complicated matters and their Classique loss to Marseille ended in a brawl and five red cards across the two sides.

By December, Thomas Tuchel was sacked and Pochettino was not able to fully correct matters. PSG’s dismal record versus their rivals in the top four – they won just once in matches against Lille, Monaco and Lyon – was a decisive factor.

Mbappe leads the way once more

His club might have lost their status as number one, but Mbappe is Ligue 1’s top scorer for a third consecutive season. A haul of 27 goals follows 18 in last year’s truncated campaign and 33 in 2018-19. The France star had three shots and two on target against Brest, figures none of his team-mates could better.

Another moment to forget for Neymar

Whether it is looking on injured during Champions League exits or collecting a petulant red card, as he did during this season’s pivotal home loss to Lille, Neymar generally has the misfortune of making himself very visible during PSG’s bad moments. His penalty truly was a howler and all three of his goal attempts failed to hit the target.

Key Opta facts

– PSG finish the season with 82 points, their lowest tally over a complete season since 2011-12 (79).
– Brest have only won 10 per cent of their Ligue 1 games against Paris (3/29), their lowest ratio against a current top-flight team. Their last league win against them was in January 1985 (3-1).
– PSG have only been trailing for 51 minutes away from home in Ligue 1 in 2020/21, the lowest such total of any side this season.
– Mbappe becomes Ligue 1’s top scorer for a third consecutive season, becoming the first player to do so since Jean-Pierre Papin (five times between 1987-88 and 1991-92). 
– PSG are the only team against which Brest coach Olivier Dall’Oglio has faced while never being able to earn a single point against them as a manager in Ligue 1 (seven losses in as many games).

What’s next?

Pochettino will seek to regain Ligue 1 when he embarks upon a first full season in charge next time around, with Brest joining them after their own lucky escape.

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