Mbappe shut down by Lens! PSG winners, losers and ratings as league leaders lose without Neymar and Messi

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Kylian Mbappe was kept quiet as second placed Lens beat PSG 3-1 to narrow the Ligue 1 holder's lead to just four points atop the table.

Facing the goal from the top of the 18-yard box, surrounded by three defenders, Kylian Mbappe tried the spectacular.

He pivoted to his left, spinning to one side, before attempting to turn onto the other. But for all of his rotation, he simply lost the ball, a flurry of opposition defenders converging to poke it away. PSG's star striker turned away in frustration, while Lens regained possession.

It was one of numerous aggravating moments for Mbappe, who found himself shut down by a dogged opponent. With Lionel Messi still out of the team and Neymar suspended, PSG needed their star striker to deliver. But the Ligue 1 leaders never got him in the game, while Lens were devastating on the break, stealing a 3-1 win to shrink Les Parisiens' lead atop the table to just four points.

Lens opened the scoring inside five minutes when Przemyslaw Frankowski volleyed home from close range. But PSG responded shortly after, with Hugo Ekitike latching on to a loose ball before finishing from a tight angle. Star man Lois Openda made it 2-1 for the hosts 20 minutes later, beating two defenders and squeezing the ball under Donnarumma to complete a fluid counter attack.

Lens continued to push the advantage in the second half, and found a third shortly after the break. Massadio Haidara dispossessed Fabian in front of the PSG box, before feeding Openda, who backheeled the ball into the path of Alexis Claude for an easy finish. PSG manager Christophe Galtier reacted with a series of substitutions, but with a thin bench, saw his replacements fail to offer any sort of lift to his side. And Mbappe never got in the game, leaving PSG devoid of options as they fell to a convincing away defeat.

  1. The Winners
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    The Winners

    Lois Openda:

    Ironically, the standout forward wasn't wearing a PSG shirt Sunday night. Openda terrorized the visitors' back line, running in behind and exploiting the spaces left between Ramos and Mukiele. He only touched the ball 24 times, but set up one and scored a wonderful goal, his eighth of the season.

    There were no real secrets as to how Openda was going to operate, but PSG never really had an answer. With their back four pushing up but playing far too wide, Openda had room all evening. It was, admittedly, slightly odd to see PSG undone by such a predictable formula, but there was a real beauty to the simplicity of Openda's performance.

    Hugo Ekitike

    Ekitike spurned interest from Newcastle to sign for PSG in the summer, leading to a fair few raised eyebrows. Why would a young player sit on the bench behind one of the most prolific front threes on the sport? On Sunday night, he showed what he might have learned since joining the club.

    Ekitike got himself on the scoresheet with a rather controversial finish, and got himself into the box with regularity. He still doesn't have a clear understanding with Mbappe, but he's now established himself as the clear stand-in if one or more of the trio are unavailable. Chances are, there will be many more goals to come.

    The Ligue 1 title race:

    There wasn't supposed to be anything resembling a Ligue 1 title race before the season. PSG are just too good. Everyone else is too average. And there still might not be. This is a PSG side far from its best, with at least three key players missing.

    But this was also an opportunity for Lens to make things interesting, with the second placed side able to cut PSG's lead to four points. And they did just that. PSG will likely be too good (it's genuinely difficult to see them losing another game). But if Lens keep winning, things might just get interesting.

  2. The Losers
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    The Losers

    Sergio Ramos:

    Ramos' performance can be encapsulated by one tackle. The centre back, finding himself the wrong side of Luis Openda, dived in front of the striker, desperately trying to cut out a driven pass up the pitch. But as Ramos slid, his foot dug into the turf, and the ball flew a metre past. And Ramos could only watch as Openda scored.

    He endured a torrid evening, tortured by one of the league's best strikers. After six weeks off, it was hoped that the 36-year-old could recapture some old form. However, he's struggled since the World Cup break, and no longer has the extra burst of pace to make up for poor positioning. Ramos can still be a quality centre back on his day, but keep performing like this and he could find himself lining up alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia.

    Fabian Ruiz:

    It's difficult to see what exactly Fabian Ruiz brings to PSG's midfield. Handed his second straight start, the Spaniard struggled to find a foothold in the game. With Neymar suspended and Messi still not in the squad, Fabian needed to add some attacking thrust to the side. But he was largely ineffective and failed to consistently link up with PSG's attacking duo - he only completed two passes into the final third. He didn't offer much defensively either, and often left Nordi Mukiele isolated against two Lens players down the PSG right.

    Kylian Mbappe:

    What a frustrating night for the Frenchman. PSG made no secret of their game plan Sunday evening, as it was clear from early on that they would try to rely on Mbappe. Lens adjusted accordingly and basically marked the winger out of the game. There were a few fleeting moments of class: shots from narrow angles and spins in tight areas. But a clear chance never came, and he cut a frustrated figure as the final whistle blew. It's safe to say that Mbappe misses his attacking counterparts.

  3. PSG Ratings: Defence
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    PSG Ratings: Defence

    Gianluigi Donnarumma (5/10)

    Should have done better on Lens' first, as the goalkeeper parried the ball into a dangerous area. Can't really be blamed for either of the other two. He was shaky otherwise, with a few loose passes.

    Achraf Hakimi (6/10)

    Was the most effective of PSG's back four going forward, and showed some wonderful flashes of pace to recover.

    Sergio Ramos (4/10)

    Was caught the wrong side of Openda, allowing the striker to break through and score. Could have given away a penalty after a hefty nudge inside the box. Also failed to track a run for Lens' third. A rough night.

    Marquinhos (5/10)

    Sent the wrong way for Lens' second after a desperate slide tackle. Was terrified by Openda all night, who exposed his lack of pace.

    Nordi Mukiele (6/10)

    Often caught two vs one with Lens' wing backs pushing up. Left Massadio Haidara unmarked in the build up to Lens' opener. He didn't get much help from Fabian defensively, though. A few good tackles redeemed an otherwise rough night.

  4. Midfield

    Fabian Ruiz (5/10)

    Handed his second straight start and it's difficult to see what exactly he brings to the midfield trio. Deservedly substituted after less than an hour.

    Danilo Pereira (6/10)

    Brought in for solidity at the No.6, and wasn't quite at his best. Reliable in possession, completing all but one of his passes. But he was caught out of position for Lens' second goal, ran out of legs after 59 minutes.

    Marco Verratti (7/10):

    On the end of a disappointing defeat on his 400th PSG appearance, although he did create three chances.

    Carlos Soler (6/10)

    Tasked with playing the No.10 role, and isn't quite as good as his suspended Brazilian teammate.

  5. Attack


    Kylian Mbappe (5/10):

    He clearly misses having Messi and Neymar playing alongside him. The Frenchman was double teamed every time he touched the ball, and only completed two of his nine dribbles. Wasn't helped by Soler's lack of creative quality. Chances are he'll score three next time.

    Hugo Ekitike (6/10)

    With Messi and Neymar missing, Ekitike picked the right time to score his second Ligue 1 goal of the year, although it probably should've been ruled out. Otherwise full of energy, and went about his off-ball work with real intent.

  6. Subs & Manager

    Vitinha (6/10):

    Tried to be a bit more adventurous, but failed to impact play.

    Pablo Sarabia (6/10):

    Probably should have scored, but saw a header thwarted by Brice Samba. Quiet otherwise.

    Warren Zaire-Emery (6/10):

    Barely touched the ball while chasing a lost cause.

    Ismael Gharbi (5/10)

    Booked for a reckless challenge in his second Ligue 1 appearance.

    Christophe Galtier (5/10):

    Galtier went for probably his strongest possible XI, but it didn't work out. He likely hoped that the return of Pereira would help the midfield control the game more effectively, but the reliance on Mbappe made his attack too predictable. They're a different side without Neymar and Messi, and Galtier needs to figure out how to set up the team without them.