PSG leave out Neymar again on way to shock Rennes defeat

Paris St Germain's Juan Bernat and Thiago Silva look dejected after the match against Rennes. — Reuters pic
Paris St Germain's Juan Bernat and Thiago Silva look dejected after the match against Rennes. — Reuters pic

RENNES, Aug 19 — Rennes came from behind to stun lacklustre Paris St Germain with a deserved 2-1 victory at Roazhon Park in France's Ligue 1 yesterday.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel left Neymar out of his squad for the second consecutive week amid uncertainty over the forward's future and his side struggled to break down the resilient French Cup holders in the Brazilian's absence.

The visitors were gifted the opener when Edinson Cavani tapped in after a defensive mix-up, but M’Baye Niang’s strike drew Rennes level on the stroke of halftime before Romain Del Castillo headed in the winner early in the second period.

Rennes join Lyon and Nice at the summit of the table on maximum points after the opening two rounds of the season, while the defeat leaves PSG in eighth.

The reigning French champions could have done with the Neymar's spark as they were frustrated by their well-drilled hosts, who have become something of a bogey team for PSG.

Yesterday's victory marked Rennes' fifth Ligue 1 win against the Parisians in the last 10 years, more than any other club. They also beat the Parisians in last season's French Cup final.

The home side started brightly but their hard work was undone on 36 minutes when Cavani pounced on a slack pass from Damien Da Silva to slot home an easy finish.

However, Rennes drew level on the brink of half time when Niang took down a cross just inside the PSG box, turned his marker and lashed a left-footed finish into the bottom corner.

The hosts then took the lead within three minutes of the restart when impressive 16-year-old midfielder Eduardo Camavinga lofted a cross into the path of Del Castillo to head home unmarked from close range.

PSG looked shell-shocked and risked going further behind when defender Jeremy Morel’s volley came back off the post and a late push to salvage a point proved futile.

Earlier yesterday, Saint-Etienne were held 1-1 at home by newly-promoted Brest and Reims and Strasbourg played out a 0-0 stalemate. — Reuters

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