Paris Saint-Germain may have won the Ligue 1 title by a wide margin, but the close to their season has been a total disaster, and it took its biggest hit yet on Saturday.
PSG fell to Stade Rennes on penalties in the Coupe de France final after a 2-2 draw, failing to win the competition for the first time since 2014.
The favorites had gone 2-0 up before the half-hour mark on goals from Dani Alves and Neymar, but a Presnel Kimpembe own-goal coming off a Hamari Traore started the comeback just before halftime, and Edson Mexer headed in the equalizer off a 66th minute corner.
A key moment came late in extra time when Kylian Mbappe was sent off for a horrible studs-up challenge into the lower leg of Damien Da Silva, leaving the PSG star unable to participate in the shootout. Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola failed to stop any of the six Rennes penalties in the eventual shootout and Christopher Nkunku skied his effort to confirm the result.
After the match, Neymar was caught on camera in an altercation with a Rennes fan as he made his way up the steps during the postmatch presentation, appearing to hit the fan in the face before storming off to follow his teammates. The match was Neymar’s second back from a lengthy injury layoff, and his first since it was confirmed he would be suspended for three future Champions League matches for an Instagram tirade after the club’s elimination a few weeks ago.
The failure to secure the domestic cup is the latest failure in what has been a brutal finish to the season. The slide began when PSG coughed up a 2-0 first-leg lead to fall to Manchester United in the Champions League quarterfinals back in early March. Then, despite a monstrous 20-point lead in the Ligue 1 table, they stumbled down the stretch in league play, stumbling through a three-match winless slide before finally confirming their champion status with a win over Monaco last time out.
Manager Thomas Tuchel, who has come under more fire with every passing slip, said after the loss on Saturday he would need time to think over his future. “It is too early to evaluate the season, Tuchel said after the match. “I need a few days to think. It is a complicated situation.”