Guingamp hands PSG first Ligue 1 loss; first-place Marseille falls
PARIS — Jeremy Pied headed home the winner and goalkeeper Jonas Lossl denied Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a decisive save in the closing stages as defending champions Paris Saint-Germain slumped to their first defeat in the French league with a 1-0 loss at relegation-threatened Guingamp on Sunday.
After losing 3-1 midweek to Barcelona in the Champions League, PSG could not recover from its first major setback of the season and looked bereft of ideas against an entertaining Guingamp side.
Although PSG almost opened the scoring when Edinson Cavani's volley brushed the woodwork, Guingamp was the better team and deservedly moved ahead after David Luiz fouled Pied. PSG defenders were caught napping on the resulting free kick as Younousse Sankhare was left unmarked in the box and headed the ball for Pied, who beat goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu with a diving header in the 11th minute.
"I'm not satisfied with my team's showing. I was really disappointed by our first half especially after we warned the players about Guingamp's quality on set pieces," PSG coach Laurent Blanc said. "This loss embodies our struggles since the start of the league season. We were made to pay for the lack of aggressiveness I have been ruing for a while."
PSG remained second in the standings but leader Marseille has the opportunity to extend its lead to four points when it travels to Monaco later Sunday. Guingamp, which has one of the smallest budgets in the league, climbed to 13th overall, four points away from the relegation zone.
Guingamp, which reached the Europa League round-of-32 for the first time this week, had a good chance to double its lead soon after the interval when Claudio Beauvue forced Sirigu to parry the ball into the corner with a fine shot from the edge of the box after being picked out by Sankhare.
PSG coach Laurent Blanc brought on Yohan Cabaye and Lucas in the second half but the move did not add spark to his team's performance.
With three minutes remaining, Ibrahimovic connected with a cross from Gregory van der Wiel but the Sweden striker's shot from close range was saved by Lossl and the PSG forward could not score from the rebound.
Earlier, Saint-Etienne extended its unbeaten run in the league to nine games following a lackluster 0-0 draw at Nice before Lille moved to 12th with a 3-0 win over Toulouse.
After being knocked out from the Europa League, Saint-Etienne appeared tired and powerless against a well-organized Nice side that did not create many chances either.
Saint-Etienne substitute Max-Alain Gradel had his team's best opportunity in the 90th minute with a shot onto the post from a tight angle.
Christophe Galtier's side kept a fifth consecutive clean sheet and remained fourth in the standings but lost ground in the race for the Champions League places, now lagging three points behind bitter rival Lyon.
Tempers frayed toward the end of the first half after Ismael Diomande deliberately stopped Carlos Eduardo's run down the right flank, with the Brazilian responding by sending his foot into the midfielder's head. Referee Lionel Jaffredo wasted little time listening to both teams' arguments and sent off both players.