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This Alves stunner wasn’t enough for PSG to seal Ligue 1 (video)

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Paris Saint-Germain again failed to clinch the French league title after losing 3-2 at Nantes on Wednesday.

PSG could have sealed it this past Sunday and the weekend before that but picked up only one point from those two matches. The defending champion leads second-place Lille by 17 points with six games left and can celebrate at the fourth attempt by beating Monaco at home on Sunday, or if Lille fails to win at Toulouse earlier in the day.

[ UCL RECAPS: Man City-Spurs | Porto-Liverpool ]

It looked like the celebrations were on at Nantes when the veteran fullback Dani Alves put PSG ahead with a superb dipping shot from outside the penalty area. But the defense crumbled again, letting in an equalizer within four minutes, another goal just before halftime and a third shortly after the break to make it 10 goals conceded in three games.

PSG needed only a draw on Sunday to to seal the eighth league title in its history, but lost 5-1 at Lille – the biggest defeat since Qatari investors QSI took charge in 2011. Before that, PSG needed a home win against Strasbourg but drew 2-2.

PSG let in two goals against Lille from set pieces and did so again this time.

Center half Diego Carlos equalized when he headed in a corner from the left.

Then, one minute before halftime, right back Thilo Kehrer was easily knocked off the ball by Kalifa Coulibaly, and unmarked striker Majeed Waris finished at the back post. A corner from the left in the 52nd led to Carlos turning the ball in from close range, even with three PSG players around him.

Nantes, which moved up to 14th place, missed further chances before PSG substitute Metehan Guclu pulled a goal back in the 90th.

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Neymar already looking to extend his contract with PSG

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SAO PAULO (AP) Neymar’s father says the Brazil striker is already looking to extend his contract with Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar da Silva Santos says in an interview published on Monday there is “a very big” likelihood his son will stay at the French club after his current contract ends. Neymar is in the second year of a five-year deal.

[ MORE: Liverpool ready to sell Keita? ]

Neymar’s father, who is also his agent, says “we are already going for an extension with PSG.”

“He is always among the (transfer) targets,” Santos told news website UOL. “But that doesn’t mean he is going to one club or to another.

“His name is part of speculations since age 17, when he had his professional debut. Neymar has two transfers in his life, but it has been 10 years of speculations. The likelihood that he doesn’t leave (PSG) is very big.”

Neymar moved from Barcelona to PSG for 222 million euros (about $250 million) in 2017. The 27-year-old Brazilian is recovering from a foot injury and is expected to return in April.

The father-agent said he wants Neymar to play for another 10 years “so it ends like we are today: Happy.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports //

Mbappe, Neymar reportedly won’t try to leave PSG

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Two of the world’s brightest attacking stars look set to stay in Paris for another season, says ESPN.

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar will not angle to leave Paris Saint-Germain in the summer despite big money interest from Real Madrid, who is in the market to spend big on some Galacticos to play with Vinicius Junior.

[ MORE: PL Player of Year candidates ]

The report says Financial Fair Play concerns will dictate a number of sales, with Giovani Lo Celso, Jese Rodriguez, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Thomas Meunier, Layvin Kurzawa, and Christopher Nkunku speculated as possible exits.

Meanwhile, AS reports that PSG is interested in Antoine Griezmann should it get a suitable bid for either Mbappe or Neymar.

It would make some sense for PSG. At 27, Neymar has been fabulous while healthy but has missed long stretches of each of the last two seasons with injury.

Les Parisiens could replace him with Griezmann, a French World Cup hero, who carries a $226 million release clause which AS says will not be negotiated by Atletico Madrid. How much more would Neymar cost Real than that? He went for around $254 million in 2017.

How much different will PSG look next year? Adrien Rabiot seems certain to leave the Parc des Princes, and Meunier is the only player mentioned by AS getting serious minutes under Thomas Tuchel.

What seems more likely is PSG sell its superfluous pieces and put a focus on developing its young players in Ligue 1 play with Neymar, Mbappe, Cavani, and Marco Verratti focusing their eyes on the Champions League

Solskjaer: ‘We always believed’ we could win

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Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday went pretty close to plan. Almost too close.

The Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted his team to score early and have a chance to win it late, and that’s exactly what happened. It allowed his side an incredible European night, overcoming the odds to defeat PSG and advance in the UEFA Champions League.

[WATCH: Man United completes incredible comeback over PSG]

“We always believe, that’s the thing,” Solskjaer said after the match. “We set out the plan. It wasn’t about having the ball and outplaying them. If you give this team too much space and time, with Mbappe, we saw a few times in the first half when we missed our defensive shape and they were through us straight away.

“The plan was to get the first goal and be in the game with five or 10 minutes to go and we were. The belief in the boys was just what we hoped for. Of course, there was a great start. We set out a plan to get the first goal. We didn’t expect it after two minutes, but that made it more open for us. We wanted many goals in the game.”

Lukaku’s second-minute goal did indeed open up the game and although Juan Bernat tied the score at 1-1 with a goal at the far post, it always seemed like the game had more goals in it. Lukaku’s second goal and some last-minute defending in the second half from Manchester United kept the Red Devils in the game, and allowed them to take advantage of a VAR decision.

It’s the second European stunner in as many days, after Ajax routed Real Madrid, 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu. Solskjaer said that after watching Ajax’s win, it gave the team even more resolve and belief.

“It’s the Champions League,” Solskjaer said. “That’s what it does. We saw last night, Real Madrid v Ajax. That was our team talk. It was probably their team talk as well. Last year, it was Real Madrid v Juventus, that was close, the year before Paris against Barcelona. We always know that it’s possible and with this club, this is what we do. That’s just Man United.”

Neymar criticizes VAR in expletive-laden rant: ‘How can it be handball?’

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For all intents and purposes, Neymar’s competitive season is over. The Brazilian star, who’s been sidelined for the second straight-year at this time with an ankle injury, is clearly and understandably upset about it. Especially with the way things went down in Paris Saint-Germain’s shock bouncing from the UEFA Champions League.

After Manchester United were awarded a penalty kick in second half stoppage time, leading to Marcus Rashford‘s game-winning-goal, Neymar posted an update to his Instagram story, asking how it could be a handball if it hit his back, before releasing an expletive aimed at the referees. Upon closer inspection and slo-motion replay, which Neymar didn’t have, the ball did ricochet off Presnel Kimpembe’s arm.

Speaking with reporters, PSG manager Thomas Tuchel urged reporters to understand it was just something posted in the heat of the moment.

It’s not clear yet when Neymar will be back on the field. He only recently returned to Paris from a trip home to Brazil to celebrate Carnivale in Rio de Janeiro. Neymar has 20 goals in 22 games in all competitions this season for PSG.