Kylian Mbappe and Neymar both endured frustrating nights as Paris Saint-Germain were stunned by Rennes in Saturday’s French Cup final, losing 6-5 on penalties after a dramatic game finished 2-2 at the end of extra time.
PSG substitute Christopher Nkunku blazed his sudden-death spot-kick over the bar in the shootout, sparking scenes of joy among the Rennes fans at the Stade de France as they won a first trophy in almost half a century.
“It has been talked about enough at the club in the last few weeks for us to realise that we have achieved something historic,” Rennes manager Julien Stephan said.
It was a remarkable comeback from the Brittany side, who had seen Dani Alves and Neymar give Ligue 1 champions PSG a 2-0 lead midway through the first half.
Neymar fighting a fan after the final 👀 pic.twitter.com/lix1Nrkhux
— Juan Velazquez (@JuanDirection58) April 28, 2019
Thomas Tuchel’s side appeared poised to wrap up a domestic double, but Presnel Kimpembe’s own goal just before the break gave Rennes hope and Edson Mexer headed them level in the 66th minute to take a gripping final – attended by President Emmanuel Macron – to extra time.
Penalties were already looming when Mbappe, who endured a frustrating evening, was shown a straight red card by referee Ruddy Buquet for a dreadful challenge on Damien da Silva. The France star caught the Rennes defender on the knee with his studs, and can expect a lengthy ban.
“He had a slight muscle injury yesterday, he stopped training early and went to hospital for tests. Maybe that was in his head,” Tuchel said.
“You got the feeling he was lacking confidence and didn’t feel free. The red card at the end, it’s not him.”
Without him, PSG fell short of winning the cup for the fifth year running, and of securing the double in Tuchel’s first season in charge, which will also be remembered for the Qatar-owned club’s Uefa Champions League exit to Manchester United in the last 16.
“I am sad,” said Neymar. “We weren’t quite up to it, but there is no point crying about it now. There is nothing we can do.”
After the game, Neymar got into an altercation with what appeared to be a spectator, who as the video shows said something that allegedly bothered them, and Neymar looked to grab his phone before the man took evasive action. It appears thereafter Neymar struck him on the chin with a quick jab.
Whether this will lead to punishment of some kind for Neymar is yet to be seen. The Brazilian has already been banned from the Uefa Champions League for three matches after he posted on Instagram criticisism of match officials in charge of the French club’s defeat to Manchester United in March.
The Brazil international will miss the first three games of next season’s Champions League group stage.