Nantes shocked Ligue 1 by inflicting just a second league defeat of the season on leaders Paris Saint-Germain after a flurry of first-half goals at Stade de la Beaujoire led to a 3-1 victory.
Antoine Kombouare’s side had raced into a 3-0 lead by the break and were able to hold on for the three points, despite the visitors threatening a comeback.
The hosts were a constant threat going forward against an out-of-sorts PSG defence, and it took just four minutes to break the deadlock as Randal Kolo Muani collected a perfectly weighted pass and slotted through the legs of Keylor Navas to make it 1-0.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side wasted a glut of chances at the other end, something that came back to haunt them when Nantes doubled their lead through Quentin Merlin, who collected the ball just inside the area and unleashed an unstoppable shot that arrowed into the far top corner.
Dennis Appiah had a reprieve for the hosts when he was shown a straight red card for bringing down Mbappe outside the box, only for the referee to overturn the decision after consulting with VAR.
The third came deep into added time after a penalty was awarded, via VAR, against Gini Wijnaldum for handball. Ludovic Blas stepped up to take it, and comprehensively dispatched his eighth goal of the season.
PSG came out all guns blazing after the break and reduced the deficit immediately when Neymar converted from Lionel Messi’s pass.
They had the momentum by now, but Neymar missed a penalty on the hour mark and, after that, it gradually dissipated. Mbappe missed a further glorious chance and Nantes were able to cling on for the win.
Neymar’s shocking penalty swings the momentum. When Neymar pulled one goal back for PSG straight after half time, there was a feeling that the visitors might be able to stage an incredible comeback.
However, their hopes of picking up a win pretty much evaporated when the Brazilian superstar wasted a glorious chance from the penalty spot on the hour mark.
A foul on Mbappe had gifted the visitors the chance of getting a second, but instead of striking cleanly into the back of the net, Neymar practically tiptoed up to the ball before stroking the tamest of shots towards goal.
It was easily saved by Alban Lafont, and Nantes, who appeared on the ropes at that point, eased back into the game and were able to claim the victory.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Alban Lafont (Nantes). Facing up to the formidable strike force of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe is never an easy task, but the goalkeeper took it all in his stride.
The PSG trio laid siege to his goal in the first half, but were thwarted on each occasion as the former French under-21 international made a string of fine saves, particularly from one-on-one situations.
He was eventually beaten by Neymar shortly after half time, but saved his absolute shocker of a penalty on the hour mark.
Nantes: Lafont 9, Appiah 5, Castelletto 7, Pallois 8, Bukari 7, Girotto 6, Chirivella 7, Merlin 8, Kolo-Muani 8, Blas 8, Simon 8. Subs: Corchia 7, Traore N/A, De Sa N/A, Coco N/A
PSG: Navas 6, Kehrer 5, Marquinhos 5, Kimpembe 6, Bernat 5, Gueye 5, Wijnaldum 5, Verratti 5, Messi 6, Neymar 5, Mbappe 4. Subs: Draxler 6, Hakimi N/A, Mendes N/A, Di Maria N/A, Iccardi N/A
4’ GOAL! NANTES 1-0 PSG (Muani). What a start for the hosts! Kolo Muani runs onto a perfectly weighted ball and slots under Navas to hand Nantes a 1-0 lead.
16’ GOAL! NANTES 2-0 PSG (Merlin). WHAT. A. GOAL! The visitors are shellshocked. Quentin Merlin picks up the ball on the edge of the box and arrows a shot into the far top corner.
45+6’ GOAL! NANTES 3-0 PSG (Blas). Wow! A header strikes Gini Wijnaldum on the arm and the referee is eventually sent to look at the replay after turning the penalty appeals down. After consulting with VAR, he awards a spot kick which Ludovic Blas duly dispatches.
47’ GOAL! NANTES 3-1 PSG. It does not take long for Mauricio Pochettino’s team talk to have an impact. Messi picks out Neymar, who turns beautifully in the box to get onto his right foot and slots past Lafont. Game on?
60’ MISSED PENALTY! That might be one of the worst penalties of all time. Appiah brings Mbappe down in the box with a clear foul. Neymar steps up to take the resulting spot kick, and after tiptoeing up to the ball, effectively strokes it straight at Lafont. He might not be taking another for a while