PARIS (AP) – Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) dropped points at home for the first time this season by drawing 0-0 with Nice in the French league early yesterday as the high-powered attack led by newly crowned Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi came up empty.
Nice goalkeeper Walter Benitez parried Kylian Mbappe’s low strike in the 27th minute and denied Angel di Maria in the 51st.
PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was less busy but still had to push behind Andy Delort’s close-range header in the 32nd to help maintain a 12-point lead atop the standings.
PSG had won every previous home game in all competitions this season and was on a four-game winning streak in the league.
“We are very proud of our performance,” Nice defender Dante said. “We wanted to attack a bit more, we wanted to control possession a bit more when we had the ball. But I think that the whole team made a lot of effort. And that’s what we had to rediscover.”
Before kickoff, Messi showed the spectators the record seventh Ballon d’Or trophy he won as the world’s top player. But PSG seemed to miss his injured attacking partner Neymar as the team lacked presence in the box, with Mbappe often playing on the left wing in the Brazilian’s absence.
Nice should have scored in the 59th but Kasper Dolberg hit the post with a header from two yards.
Messi then slipped a through ball to Mbappe, who missed the target from 10 yards in the 64th.
Marseille climbed to second place by edging Nantes 1-0 after Brazilian midfielder Gerson controlled a pass from Dimitri Payet and buried the ball into the bottom corner in the 30th.
Nantes defender Nicolas Pallois was sent off after receiving a second yellow card in the 32nd.
Rennes fell to third place after losing 2-1 to defending champion Lille. Portuguese duo Renato Sanches and Xeka scored for Lille in the first half, while. Rennes midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud netted a consolation goal in the 85th.
Reims stunned mid-table Lyon 2-1 as substitute Hugo Ekitike capitalised on a blunder by Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes to score the winner in the third minute of stoppage time.
Lyon hosted Reims without spectators after the league sanctioned the club for incidents at the Groupama stadium on November 21 when Dimitri Payet was hit on the head by a bottle of water thrown from the stands in a game that was abandoned.