Lionel Messi and Neymar struggled once again as PSG fell to a narrow defeat at the hands of OGC Nice on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino’s woes against Christophe Galtier continued as Paris Saint-Germain succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of OGC Nice. The Parisian juggernaut were held to a goalless draw in the reverse fixture and were knocked out of the Coupe de France by the same opposition earlier in the season.

Playing without star striker Kylian Mbappe, it was a poor performance from the PSG side that lacked the spark going forward, even with the presence of seasoned superstars like Lionel Messi and Neymar. In fact, it was Nice who started the game rather well, capitalising on individual errors from the PSG players to make deadly forays into the opposition box.

However, neither team was able to break the deadlock in the first half. While PSG tried to fuel their attacking output after the restart, they were unable to do so, mustering a total of just two shots on target. The Nice defence remained resolute throughout the ninety minutes, which ended up being quite rewarding for their attackers.

While PSG were looking for a late winner, Nice capitalised on their defensive frailties to score the opener in the 88th minute, with Andy Delort making no mistake in converting an enticing cross from Calvin Stengs. Nice could have even doubled their lead at the last minute, but the horror challenge from Mauro Icardi was made just outside the penalty area, leading only to a free-kick.

Here at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the PSG players following their disappointing defeat to OGC Nice this weekend.

Keylor Navas: 6/10

Keylor Navas could not have done anything to save the close-range effort from Andy Delort in the final few minutes of the game. Other than that, the PSG goalkeeper was not forced to make any big save but had to remain alert throughout the ninety minutes. He will be disappointed not to have retained a clean sheet.

Thilo Kehrer: 5/10

With Achraf Hakimi not fully fit to feature, Thilo Kehrer was again given the nod at right-back. He could not influence the game at all and had a difficult night dealing with the threat of Amine Gouiri. The German is clearly not a right-back, and it is about time Pochettino considers alternatives.

Marquinhos: 6/10

It was one of those matches where even Marquinhos had a rather difficult outing. The PSG captain struggled to deal with the intensity of the Nice attackers, at times. Although he was still the best defender for Les Parisiens, the usual swagger and domination were lacking.

Abdou Diallo: 5.5/10

Abdou Diallo was asked to fill in at centre-back alongside Marquinhos as part of Pochettino’s rotation policy ahead of the Real Madrid game. The former Borussia Dortmund starlet was not faultless, but did better than most when it came to soaking up the pressure from Les Aiglons.

Juan Bernat: 4/10

It was a mistake on Pochettino’s part to start with Juan Bernat. The former Bayern Munich full-back offered very little creativity going forward and had a difficult time dealing with the threat of Justin Kluivert.

Danilo Pereira: 5/10

While Danilo did a decent job when it came to breaking up the play and creating the odd turnovers, his lack of creativity or quality in possession limited his influence on the proceedings. In the end, he was more of a liability than an asset for PSG.

Georginio Wijnaldum: 3/10

It was yet another poor performance from Wijnaldum. The former Liverpool star was unable to offer the creativity going forward and was a liability in defence, notably failing to mark Delort for the late winner.

Marco Verratti: 6.5/10

Marco Verratti was the only real spark in the PSG midfield that lacked efficiency and creativity. The Italian international tried to make things happen with his ability to carry the ball forward. Most importantly, he was willing to work hard for his team and was not afraid to get himself involved in challenges and create turnovers in the middle of the park.

Angel Di Maria: 4/10

Angel Di Maria was quite frustrating to watch, as the Argentine failed to make good use of even a single attacking opportunity in the final third. He lacked concentration and was highly inaccurate with his decision-making and passes in the final third.

Lionel Messi: 4/10

After a few good games, Lionel Messi struggled to maintain his consistency, especially up against a Nice defence that defended him rather well. He was not given much space in the attacking third and was not a threat for the most part. It was perhaps a mistake on Pochettino’s part to have played the Argentine in a central role.

Neymar: 4/10

Neymar was lively, at times, in the attack. However, the Brazilian also lacked concentration and squandered a few good opportunities. He looked frustrated as well, notably getting into a scrap with Nice players after the final whistle.

SUBSTITUTES

Mauro Icardi: 4/10

Mauro Icardi made a horror challenge in the last minute of the game and was lucky to get away with it.

Julian Draxler: N/A

A late replacement for Kehrer, Draxler did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Idrissa Gueye: N/A

A late replacement for  Wijnaldum, Gueye did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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