Paris no longer unbeaten

Paris Saint-Germain lost 32-30 to Nantes in a thrilling battle between the leaders and their nearest chasers in what was their first league defeat of the season. Here's a look back at this headline clash from Liqui Moly StarLigue Round 23.

Just a few days after securing their place in the quarter-finals of the EHF Champions League with a win over Wisla Plock, the capital club were back in action with another hugely important late-season clash. Against Nantes, Les Rouge et Bleu had the chance to take a major step towards another French league title. However, in front of a sold-out H Arena, Aymeric Minne's team-mates were determined to thwart Raul Gonzalez's plans.

Kamil and Elohim, both of whom took pride of place in the double-header against Plock, led the way for the Parisians in a tight opening period (5': 3-3). As the minutes ticked by, the goalkeepers began to stand out and close down the gaps, while Jannick Green responded to Ivan Pesic with a splendid first save (10': 6-6). Buoyed by their home crowd, however, The H seized every opportunity and took a two-goal lead (14': 9-7).

Thanks to a numerical advantage, Les Rouge et Bleu soon came back into the game and upped the intensity to turn the first half around. Wallem, David and Nikola took it in turns to not only bring Paris back level, but also give them their first break, forcing Nantes to stop play (22': 11-13). Invigorated, Nantes managed to get back on level terms in the 26' minute (15-15) and, at the end of a thrilling first period, everything was still to play for between Nantes and Paris (30': 17-16).

As soon as the second half got underway, Les Rouge et Bleu got back to +2 and took the upper hand over a Nantes side punished for its passivity (35': 16-18). However, Grégory Cojean's men quickly regained their intensity and pulled level with the capital club (38': 19-19). The minutes ticked by, but neither team was able to break away in this battle between the leaders and their nearest chasers, promising a fascinating finale (45': 22-22). Once again in outrageous form, Elohim Prandi scored his tenth goal of the evening, while Léo Villain made his mark from the penalty line to put Paris back in front at the start of the final ten minutes (51': 23-25).

With his team struggling, Grégory Cojean decided to call a time-out and the result was immediate for The H, who turned the match on its head (55': 27-26). Chasing the score, Paris switched to a sevenm-man attack and managed to equalise through Mathieu Grébille (58': 29-29). But Nantes, with a numerical advantage, regained the lead in the dying moments of the match (59': 31-29). A few minutes later, the capital club lost for the first time this season in the Liqui Moly StarLigue to a valiant Nantes side (60': 32-30). Les Rouge et Bleu remain top of the table, however, and hold a three-point lead over their opponents on the evening, whom they will meet again in the Coupe de France final on 20 April.


(Credits: L. Valroff/ Team Pics/PSG)