Paris Saint-Germain suffered their first defeat of the season as runners-up Lens showcased their Ligue 1 titles with an impressive 3-1 victory at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.
Goals scored by Przemysław Frankowski, Lois Openda and Alexis Claude-Maurice in the New Year’s recreational competition reduced PSG’s lead at the top to four points.
Hugo Ekitike equalized in the first half but Christophe Galtier’s side finished second in their first game of 2023 as they await the return of Lionel Messi after his World Cup triumph with Argentina.
The start of 2023 was a dream come true for Lens boss Frank Hayes, who celebrated his 100th match in style.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) January 1, 2023
The noisy crowd didn’t have to wait long for the fireworks: Frankowski was on hand to strike after Gianluigi Donnarumma was only able to parry Massadio Haidara’s blow in his path only five minutes later.
Three minutes later, PSG hit back when Ekitike fired for Bryce Samba, although the Lens goalkeeper claimed the striker had knocked the ball out of his hands.
Lens took this setback easily and they took the lead again, scoring a goal at half-time just before the half-hour mark, Openda took a pass from captain Seko Fofan and beat Marquinhos before shooting under Donnarumma.
Things went from bad to worse for PSG when Openda turned to a provider with a superb heel for Claude-Maurice, who shot home two minutes after the restart.
There was no turning back for the Parisian giants as Lens showed they were capable of putting up a serious title shot.
What does this mean? PSG lose unbeaten record
PSG knew a win would give them a 10-point lead, but Lens was superb in a top-two battle to show they were serious.
The defeat not only closed the gap, but also ended a 12-match unbeaten streak of champions in France’s top flight.
Mbappe remained silent in Verratti’s 400th game
After winning the Golden Boot in Qatar and winning after returning to the club against Strasbourg, Kylian Mbappe could not show more heroism.
The French striker landed two shots on goal and missed the goal on the night his teammate Marco Verratti was defeated in his 400th appearance for the club.
Lens apply heat
It was an important announcement from Lance, who have only lost once in Ligue 1 this season, and it was a good price to pay for a big win.
They have now recorded nine consecutive league home wins, matching their previous best streak set between March and September 1985.
Key facts about Opta
– PSG’s defeat was their first in Ligue 1 since they lost 3-0 to AS Monaco on 20 March last year, ending a 25-game unbeaten streak in the top flight.
– Openda scored his eighth Ligue 1 goal this season, the highest for a Belgian player in the top five European leagues in the current campaign. He also made his first assist.
– Heise has four of five games in charge of Lens against the Ligue 1 champions, an 80 per cent record that is the highest of any manager in the 21st century to win at least three such matches.
– Sergio Ramos suffered his first defeat as a PSG player in his 35th appearance for the club in all competitions (W27 D7). His previous defeat came in May 2021 for Real Madrid against Chelsea in the Champions League.
Lens will play Linas-Montlhéry in the Coupe de France on Saturday, while PSG travel to Châteauroux in the same competition a day earlier.