Eighteen days after losing the Champions League final, a PSG plagued with casualties due to Covid-19 contagion, including Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, began the defense of the title with a surprising defeat against the recently promoted Lens (1-0). The champion had not lost in Ligue 1 since November to Dijon (2-1). The match, corresponding to the second day and postponed at the time so that PSG had more rest, was played in front of 5,000 spectators at the Boellaert-Delelelis stadium.
Two young debutantes in the eleven of Tuchel
Without Neymar, Mbappe, Di Maria, Icardi, Keylor Navas, Paredes, and Marquinhos after testing positive for Covid-19, Thomas Tuchel managed to line up an eleven in which the presence of two 18-year-old debutants stood out. The left-winger Kays Ruiz-Atil and center forward Arnaud Kalimuendo, chosen by the coach instead of Jese Rodriguez, on the bench initially, to accompany Pablo Sarabia in the decimated attack.
In defense, Juan Bernat played on the left and Layvin Kurzawa had to change flanks. The average was recognizable with Marco Verratti and Ander Herrera; who led PSG ‘s overwhelming dominance in the first half, but without creating clear chances. The only two before the break were curiously led by the two debutants: Ruiz-Atil, with a shot with a thread that brushed the post (30 ‘), and Kalimuendo, as he narrowly missed a deep ball from Verratti ( 40 ‘).
Ganago warns with a shot to the post and then scores
The lens started with vigor and intensity before gradually closing in on their area, but had the best opportunity in a great personal action from Ignatius Ganago that culminated with a shot to the post (17 ‘).
Ganago himself opened the scoring at the beginning of the second half by taking advantage of a serious mistake in the pass of goalkeeper Marcin Bulka, who started because Sergio Rico was not yet registered in the first match, in his loan to Verratti. Ganago went ahead of the Italian and shot the 1-0 (57 ‘). It was the first shot between the three suits of the match.
Jese enters but nothing changes
Bulka avoided Lens’s second goal shortly thereafter by catching Simon Banza’s shoulder shot a meter from goal (57 ‘). Herrera’s free-kick slightly over the crossbar was PSG ‘s only dangerous shot before Tuchel admitted Jese for Kalimuendo (74 ‘), but the willful ex-Madridista could not change the development of the match.
Lens, without having the ball, again sowed panic with a crossed header at the far post by Florian Sotoca who narrowly missed a goal (79 ‘). PSG had no option against an opponent well withdrawn in their area and ended the game without a well-aimed shot.
Lens vs PSG: Match Overview