December 2, 2017 / 6:31 PM / a year ago

PSG suffer shock first defeat of the season at Strasbourg

(Reuters) - Paris St Germain suffered their first defeat of the season in any competition with Strasbourg ending the runaway leaders’ aura of invincibility in Ligue 1 with a 2-1 victory at the Stade de la Meinau on Saturday.

Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - Strasbourg vs Paris St Germain - Stade de la Meinau, Strasbourg, France - December 2, 2017 Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar looks on as Kylian Mbappe gestures REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PSG, who had been expected to stretch their 10-point lead with some comfort at a club starting the day in 17th place, were on the end of a major shock as a 65th-minute goal from Stephane Bahoken ended their season-long, 22-match unbeaten sequence.

Later, with the shock of PSG’s loss still reverberating, Monaco closed the gap at the top to nine points after Radamel Falcao’s early goal earned them a 1-0 victory at home to Angers.

Strasbourg had gone ahead through the inspirational Nuno Da Costa after 13 minutes but normal service seemed to have been resumed when Kylian Mbappe equalised three minutes before halftime.

Despite having to soak up huge pressure after Bahoken again gave Strasbourg the lead, the newly-promoted side survived the onslaught for a famous win, the first over PSG by any team in the league this season after their 13 wins and two draws.

The defeat gives PSG’s distant pursuers fresh hope. With the Paris side still on 41 points and Monaco on 32, Olympique Marseille can get to within seven points of the leaders by winning at Montpellier on Sunday.

Even having rested their top scorer Edinson Cavani, Marco Verratti and captain Thiago Silva with an eye on Tuesday’s Champions League match at Bayern Munich, PSG had the luxury of bringing back the brilliant Mbappe.

Yet they were quickly rocked by the home side’s physicality and Dimitri Lienard’s free kick saw the excellent Cape Verdean Da Costa take advantage of lax marking to head home his fourth goal of the season.

PSG were let down by poor finishing but Mbappe scored his fifth league goal of the campaign before Javier Pastore hit the post just before halftime.

Yet with Unai Emery’s men looking to forge ahead, Strasbourg hit them on the break, goalkeeper Bingourou Kamara’s clearance being flicked on by Da Costa into the path of Bahoken, who smashed in a right-foot shot.

From then on, the 25,000-strong crowd must have feared the fairytale would not last against Neymar and company, especially when Cavani was introduced for the last 15 minutes.

When the Uruguayan did get his chance in the eighth of the nine minutes of added time with the Strasbourg goal under siege, the injured Kamara’s replacement Alexandre Oukidja blocked Cavani’s ricocheted effort after Adrien Rabiot’s shot.

Neymar was booked as PSG’s frustration grew and he suffered his first defeat since his world-record transfer from Barcelona.

Yet it was a wonderful moment for Strasbourg, one of France’s iconic clubs now making a stirring comeback after years of struggle when their very future looked in doubt amid a financial crisis.

Falcao, Ligue 1’s second most prolific striker this term behind Cavani, headed home his 14th goal of the season for Monaco in just the second minute before the champions made heavy weather of subduing 19th-placed Angers.

Wahbi Khazri and Benjamin Andre struck in the second half for Rennes to earn them a 2-0 win over Amiens, their sixth victory in seven league games, and elevate them to sixth in the table.

Lille moved clear of the relegation zone with Nicolas Pepe’s 63rd-minute goal giving them a 1-0 win at home to Toulouse.

Reporting by Ian Chadband; editing by Clare Fallon

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