Leader PSG slips to embarrassing 1-0 loss at Reims
PARIS (AP) -Big-spending Paris Saint-Germain slipped to an embarrassing 1-0 loss at relegation-battlers Reims on Saturday, with the French leader conceding the goal shortly after the hosts had a player sent off.
It was PSG's second consecutive away loss to a team fighting relegation following the 3-2 loss at Sochaux two weeks ago and the second time it has lost despite having a numerical advantage after a 2-1 home defeat to Rennes in November. The result leaves the door open for second-place Lyon to move level on points if it wins at Brest on Sunday, and will dent confidence ahead of Wednesday's home match against Valencia in the return leg of the Champions League last 16.
Reims defender Christopher Glombard was red-carded in the 58th after picking up a second yellow card, and minutes later midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak was left unchallenged to sweep the ball in following a corner from the right.
PSG brought on substitute David Beckham and winger Jeremy Menez shortly after the goal but it made little difference.
On a poor playing surface, the first half started scrappily and saw little creativity from either side.
Goalkeeper Kossi Agassa made the first save of the match in the 14th when he blocked striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic's effort after the Sweden forward had cut inside his marker and hit a low shot from just outside the penalty area.
Reims midfielder Antoine Devaux tried his luck shortly after but his effort was tipped wide by `keeper Salvatore Sirigu, and Brazilian winger Diego went close with a driving shot just past the post as Reims began to get on top toward the end of the first half.
Center-half Anthony Weber saw his shot blocked by PSG midfielder Marco Verratti near the line in the 36th and the loose ball was quickly played up to winger Ezequiel Lavezzi who suddenly found himself clean through with only Agassa to beat.
But the Reims `keeper bluffed Lavezzi into thinking the referee had blown for offside, nonchalantly standing still as a confused Lavezzi casually stroked the ball wide only to realize that no flag had been raised. Lavezzi pulled his jersey over his face in frustration at being hoodwinked so easily.
Ibrahimovic had the ball in the net early in the second half and peeled off to celebrate, only to realize several seconds later that his effort had been ruled out for offside.
The match turned against the home side when Glombard went off for a late tackle on Javier Pastore.
But it was 10-man Reims who punished poor defending when Mohamed Fofana flicked on a corner and Krychowiak was left unmarked at the back post - and played onside by a PSG player on the line - to slide the ball home from close range in the 64th.
The 37-year-old Beckham, who played nearly the full match in Wednesday's French Cup win against Marseille, had the ball taken off him easily as he made a tentative start in only his third appearance for the club.
Agassa then rushed off his line to whip the ball off Ibrahimovic's toe as he stretched for the ball.
Reims kept attacking, despite being a player down, and the impressive Odair Fortes forced PSG's defense to back off and then tested Sirigu with a low strike.
The home crowd even mocked PSG with cries of "Ole, Ole'' as Reims knocked the ball around casually in injury time.