Updated: March 15, 2021 7:37:14 am
Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria was substituted Sunday during the second half of his team’s French league game amid reports his home had been burglarized with his family inside.
On the field, days after the high of knocking out Barcelona in the Champions League, PSG came tumbling back down to reality with a 2-1 home defeat to relegation-threatened Nantes.
Leonardo leans over to speak to Pochettino. Leonardo gets on his phone, Pochettino then brings Di Maria off & both disappear down the tunnel only for Poch to reappear shortly after
— Tom Scholes (@_TomScholes) March 14, 2021
Around the hour mark, PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino left the field for a few moments following an earlier discussion with sporting director Leonardo, who was on his cell phone. It was unclear why the exchange happened but it coincided with Argentina veteran Di Maria going off.
Pochettino accompanied his countryman Di Maria back to the locker room with his arm around him.
No further details were immediately known.
“There was a situation outside of sport itself that you’re now aware of,” Pochettino said after the game, without mentioning Di Maria by name. “For the players this goes beyond soccer and it should be taken into consideration.”
RMC Sport reported that club captain Marquinhos’ parents were also burgled on Sunday night, without giving further details.
Angel Di Maria & another PSG player had their homes broken into during the Nantes match. In Di Maria’s case, his family were present. #PSGFCN
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) March 14, 2021
Defending champion PSG’s seventh defeat of the league season left it three points behind leader Lille and level with third-place Lyon, which hosts PSG next Sunday and won in Paris earlier this season.
PSG has lost five more games than Lille and four more than Lyon, and would be further adrift if those two sides had not drawn so many games.
A win would have moved PSG ahead of Lille on goal difference.
“We missed the chance to go first. We lost points and that’s always frustrating and disappointing,” Pochettino said. “It’s getting more difficult now, but there are still a lot of games left.”
Only nine, though, and Nantes felt PSG was there for the taking.
“We knew that after every match in the Champions League there’s always a chance to win here,” Nantes midfielder Abdoulaye Toure said. “It was difficult but we got through it with our mental strength. This should serve us well for the future.”
Germany winger Julian Draxler put PSG ahead in the 41st minute with a low shot from Di Maria’s deflected pass.
But as against Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday night, PSG’s defense was bailed out by Keylor Navas as he made a superb save to deny midfielder Ludovic Blas from close range in the 30th.
An awful error from star striker Kylian Mbappe gifted Nantes an equalizer in the 58th.
He tried an intricate pass across midfield when under no pressure and instead sent the ball straight to forward Randal Kolo Muani, who skipped past Marquinhos just inside the penalty area and drilled a low shot past Navas.
Nantes, which appeared to have a clear penalty turned down midway through the first half following a video review, took the lead in the 70th.
Nigeria forward Moses Simon swept in Muani’s cross from the right and the goal was awarded a few minutes later following a video review.
Nantes goalkeeper Alban Lafont kept out a powerful shot from Leandro Paredes in the 81st.
The win was particularly sweet for Nantes coach Antoine Kombouare, replaced as PSG coach in December 2011 by Carlo Ancelotti even though his side was three points clear at the top. PSG lost the title that season to Montpellier by three points.
Nantes is in danger of relegation but at least moved up one place to 18th.
DRAW FOR LILLE
Mike Maignan’s brilliant injury-time save earned Lille a 0-0 draw at fourth-place Monaco, which needed a win to get in the title race.
Maignan showed superb composure and reflexes to stick out his right leg and block Stevan Jovetic’s effort at Stade Louis II.
Jovetic expertly took down a long ball on the right of the penalty area and angled his shot to the left post, but Maignan read it well just like he did when he made an injury-time save against Strasbourg last month.
Lille’s iron defense has kept 16 clean sheets this season, including seven in the past nine games, and conceded just 17 goals in 29 matches — the least in the league and two less than PSG. The 25-year-old Maignan is pushing to be France’s No. 2 goalkeeper behind stalwart Hugo Lloris.
In a game of few chances, Lille forward Jonathan David was perhaps too unselfish when he tried and failed to pick out Timothy Weah in the 55th minute, rather than advancing into the penalty area and going for goal himself.
Sixth-place Lens drew 2-2 at home to seventh-place Metz in an entertaining match where Lens twice took the lead.
Winger Benjamin Bourigeaud scored the only goal as eighth-place Rennes beat Strasbourg 1-0 to end a dismal run of six straight defeats.
South Korea striker Hwang Ui-jo netted twice as midtable Bordeaux won 3-1 at last-place Dijon, while striker Andy Delort grabbed Montpellier’s equalizer in a 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Nimes.
Lorient picked up a point in its relegation fight with a 1-1 home draw with Nice.
Seven-time champion Lyon drew 1-1 at Reims on Friday and Marseille coach Jorge Sampaoli won his second game since taking charge on Saturday.
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