With a 13-point advantage over their pursuers, PSG have turned their transit through the French league into preparation for the Champions League. His time in Nice, one of the hottest fiefdoms in the championship, was taken as just a formality to comply with the schedule and provide a duel without hostilities in which a goalless draw seemed inevitable. Until two minutes from the end Delort culminated a laborious local counterattack and put his signature in PSG’s third defeat (1-0) in domestic competition, the second consecutive away from home after the fiasco a fortnight ago in Nantes.
Walter Benitez, Melvin Bard, Flavius Daniliuc (Mvula Lotomba, min. 78), Jean-Clair Todibo, Dante, Mario Lemina (Schneiderlin, min. 69), Pablo Rosario, Justin Kluivert (Hichem Boudaoui, min. 85), Kephren Thuram (Calvin Stengs, min. 78), Kasper Dolberg (Delort, min. 69) and Amine Gouiri
Keylor Navas, Abdou Diallo, Thilo Kehrer (Draxler, min. 89), Bernat, Marquinhos, Danilo Pereira, Verratti, Wijnaldum (Idrissa Gueye, min. 90), Messi, Di María (Icardi, min. 78) and Neymar
goals 1-0 min. 87: Delort.
Referee Willy Delajod
Yellow cards Mario Lemina (min. 32)
Pochettino’s boys were on the Costa Azul, but his gaze focused on Madrid. Mbappé stayed in Paris because, at a good time to save his physique for Wednesday’s exam at the Bernabéu, he had to serve a penalty for accumulating cautions. Another of the indisputable, former Madrid player Achraf did not travel to the Costa Azul either, suffering from muscular discomfort.
And that it all started with a certain frenzy. Under a scenery that invited excitement, the footballers wrapped themselves under a thick cloud from a flare and began to run, normal for a football match. There were scoring options, counter-attacks, a one-on-one by Di María that goalkeeper Walter Benítez took out and a couple of chances generated by Gouiri, an agitator who was able to score for Nice. After ten minutes, just as the smoke over the Allianz Riviera dissipated, PSG strove to lower the revolutions of the game. And he made it unbearable.
Pochettino’s team began to manage the ball from contempt for depth and settled into an endless round. Without speed, without rhythm or anyone who wanted to change it, with Messi and Neymar languishing and without making one more run, the game turned into a pestiño. Nice did not think it was a bad approach to embrace zero to zero. He settled for even and eventually found a jackpot.
PSG go to something else. Madrid is the horizon, the Champions League is the objective of a team that maintains a procedural relationship with its country’s competition, as superior as it is to the rest of its rivals without the need to explore its limits. Delighted with a cadence typical of a preseason party, he let himself go until the three whistles, but ended up taking a slap. Europe has other demands.
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