Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo hit out at the officials after the Parisians slipped to a 3-1 loss at Nantes, claiming referee Mikael Lesage favoured the hosts throughout their second loss of the Ligue 1 season.
PSG found themselves 3-0 down at half-time in an absorbing contest, during which both teams were awarded penalties, Ludovic Blas scoring from the spot for the hosts before Neymar’s inexplicable second-half penalty miss halted a potential comeback from the visitors.
Meanwhile, home defender Dennis Appiah saw a first-half red card correctly overturned by VAR, before being fortunate to avoid a second booking when giving away PSG’s spot-kick, and the visitors were enraged by Nicolas Pallois’ tackle on Kylian Mbappe.
Speaking to Canal+ after the contest, Leonardo admitted the French league leaders did not perform well, but fumed at the officiating of the match.
“It was a tough game for us,” the Brazilian said. “After a Champions League match, we knew we were the team to beat. We conceded two goals and it was deserved.
“[But] afterwards, all the choices [of the officials] were against us. He announced a minute of added time [at the end of the first half] and then the [Nantes] penalty [eventually taken six minutes into injury-time] comes four minutes later.
“I think there is an urge to whistle against us. The referee doesn’t even whistle [for Pallois’ challenge]. You risk players having three months out with an injury.
“Afterwards, Appiah concedes a penalty, and he does not give yellow when it would have been red [for two bookable offences].
“The match was no longer controlled, for us as well as for Nantes, it was completely out of control.”
PSG’s Italian midfielder Marco Verratti was one of the eight players booked during an ill-tempered affair, and was also incensed by the decision not to award Appiah a second booking for his 58th-minute foul on Mbappe.
“Sometimes the referee says we can talk to him, this evening, we couldn’t at all,” the 29-year-old told Canal+. “He’s the only referee in the world who does things like that.
“Normally, a penalty is a yellow card and therefore a red card. How is it possible not to show a yellow card [to Appiah]? I think the referees have to take responsibility because there, we were s*** on by the refereeing.”
Despite holding a 13-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit, Mauricio Pochettino’s team have only won three of their last nine away league matches (drawing four and losing two), after winning 11 of their previous 12.
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