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Will the real Neymar please stand up? As Rennes shocks the Ligue 1 championship chase with victory

Hamari Traore's goal for Rennes on Sunday caused Paris Saint-Germain to suffer their second straight away loss in Ligue 1.

Gianluigi Donnarumma had to make two crucial saves in quick succession to stop Arnaud Kalimuendo and Amine Gouiri as Rennes played with assurance from the opening minute.PSG's lackluster offensive performance was summed up by a pair of Lionel Messi attempts that went way beyond the goal line, which prepared the way for Kylian Mbappe's entrance after having to sit on the bench for the opening 55 minutes. Both sets of fans cheered the Frenchman upon his entrance as he made his comeback after a lengthy post-World Cup break, but he was helpless to stop the hosts from taking the lead just 10 minutes later.Alongside Mbappe, Achraf Hakimi provided virtually little resistance to Rennes winger Adrien Truffert, giving the latter time to find Rennes captain Traore, who rifled in from close range. Moments later, Mbappe scored in a one-on-one situation, and PSG finally suffered back-to-back road losses for the first time since March 2022.

While Traore will receive all the praise for his decisive goal, Adrien Truffert's contribution should not be undervalued. Yes, Hakimi's nonexistent defense inside the box made things a lot easier for the Rennes winger, but he still displayed the same dedication and tenacity as he had throughout the whole game. Truffert's passing and movement were incisive, and after 55 minutes of failing to cope with him, Nordi Mukiele was forced to leave the game injured before giving Hakimi even more trouble. Truffert was replaced by Birger Meling after 76 minutes, neutralizing Rennes' danger, but the damage had already been done.

It appears that Neymar's recent luck has been negatively impacted by Brazil's abrupt World Cup loss. The 30-year-old had a goal chalked off against Angers and was sent off for diving in PSG's Ligue 1 return against Strasbourg, and the Brazilian was non-existent against Rennes. If Donnarumma hadn't performed miracles, Neymar's inability to connect with an unfamiliar frontline and frequent turnovers could have more directly contributed to PSG's downfall. Instead, his lackluster offensive drive typified a lackluster PSG offensive strategy that must be changed quickly if Christophe Galtier's team is to keep their lead in the league. The distance between Lens in second place and the defending Ligue 1 winners has shrunk to only three points after Lens defeated Auxerre on Saturday.

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Achraf Hakimi Gianluigi Donnarumma Neymar PSG Traore


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