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28th Apr 2019

PSG lose French Cup to Rennes on penalties in spectacular bottle job

PSG blew a 2-0 lead to lose the French cup to Rennes on Saturday night, losing 6-5 on penalties after Kylian Mbappé was sent off for a horror tackle

Reuben Pinder

Could they be the biggest bottlers in the history of football?

Paris Saint-Germain blew a 2-0 lead over Rennes on Saturday night to lose the Coupe de France final 6-5 on penalties. Young midfielder Christopher Nkunku missed the decisive penalty to end four years of Parisian dominance in the domestic cup, handing Rennes their first victory in the competition since 1971.

The league leaders raced into a 2-0 lead after just 20 minutes thanks to goals from Brazilian duo Dani Alves and Neymar.

But with that two goal cushion, PSG appeared to take their foot off the gas. Rennes were not dispirited and worked their way back into the game, forcing an own goal from Presnel Kimpembe five minutes before the break.

Rennes then drew level shortly after the hour mark and held on to take the final to extra time and then penalties.

As PSG grew more frustrated, the dirtier the game got. Two minutes before the end of extra time, Kylian Mbappé was sent off for the sort of tackle you or I might lay on someone for nutmegging us too many times at five-a-side.

Underwhelming performance aside, Thomas Tuchel and his players will look back at that expulsion and wonder, what if Mbappé could have taken a penalty.

Rennes fans were ecstatic after the shock victory, filling the Stade de France with noise long after the final penalty.

It was a particularly sweet victory for Hatem Ben Arfa, who was ostracised during an ill-fated spell at PSG between 2016-2018.

The former Newcastle man told RMC after the game: “One day, like me, Adrien Rabiot will come up against PSG. I have nothing against the club, just those who run it.”

PSG will now finish the season with just one trophy, having lost to Guingamp in the French league cup, and Manchester United in the Champions League round of 16. Despite the millions and millions poured into the club and the talent on show, there still remains an intangible mental barrier that they can’t seem to overcome.