On Sunday, October 3, 2021, PSG visited the home ground of Rennes, Stade de la Route de Lorient, as favorites to win the French Ligue 1 game due to how star-studded the team was. To the dismay of many football fans, PSG performed woefully.
Even though the club’s coach, Mauricio Pochettino, started the three players – Messi, Mbappe, Neymar, most football fans thought would be the deadliest attacking trios in world football, PSG failed to record a shot on target.
It was the lowly rated Rennes that were able to record four shots on target out of their 12 total shots. The four shots on target produced two goals PSG could not cancel despite their enviable attacking options.
Rennes, who had less than three days to recover after beating Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa League on Thursday proved their superiority when Gaëtan Laborde scored his 6th goal of the season in the 45th minute.
Rennes went into the halftime break with the lead and returned for the remaining 45 minutes to prove that their first-half goal was not a fluke by scoring in the first minute of the second half thanks to Flavien Tait’s 46th-minute strike.
For the rest of the game, Neymar, Mbappe, and Messi could not find a way to break Rennes’ defense. The closest the attacking trio got to scoring a goal during the game was in the 68th minute when Mbappe scored a goal which the VAR ruled out for offside.
Messi’s biggest opportunity in the game came when his free-kick hit the crossbar. While Neymar did not play to expectation which forced coach Pochettino to substitute him with Mauro Icardi in the 76th minute.
After the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Rennes, coach Pochettino said: “I don’t think we can look at our system. We played 25 of our best minutes of the season [in the first half]. We didn’t start the game well, but we then had 25 or 30 minutes of good quality football. It was a shame not to capitalize.
“We then had two psychological blows, conceding just before and just after half-time. The match was then open. We created chances but had a hard time. Rennes grew in confidence and we started to become frustrated…
“I’m a little bit angry. Without underestimating what Rennes did, we are frustrated and disappointed that we did not convert our chances and concede these goals. These situations leave us bitter and disappointed.”
The 2-0 defeat at the hands of Rennes came less than five days after PSG defeated reigning Premier League champions, Manchester City 2-0 in a UEFA Champions League group stage game.
While coach Pochettino was comparing PSG’s performance against Manchester City and their performance against Rennes, the Argentine tactician said PSG’s performance against City was a collective effort.
“When we won against Man City, it was down to a collective effort,” he said. “The first person in charge is me. What we did for 25 minutes was of very high quality. We must extend that to 90 minutes. I am satisfied with one sector – we created a lot of situations and opportunities.”
The 2-0 defeat has not forced PSG down from the French Ligue 1 table. They are still the league leaders with 24 points in 9 games, 6 points away from second-placed Lens.
On the other hand, Rennes are sitting on the 11th spot on the league table with 12 points in 9 games. They have recorded 3 wins, 3 draws, and 3 defeats this season.