French champions humbled without Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria

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PSG suffered a shock defeat in their opening Ligue 1 game of the season
Champions were without most of their big names after positive Covid-19 tests
Ganago intercepted a pass from back-up goalkeeper Bulka to score the winner

Defending champions Paris Saint-Germain opened their league campaign without Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Angel Di Maria and four other first team stars and lost 1-0 at promoted Lens on Thursday.

Striker Ignatius Ganago finished powerfully in the 57th minute after third-choice PSG goalkeeper Marcin Bulka passed the ball to him instead of teammate Marco Verratti.

PSG were missing a host of stars player who had tested positive for coronavirus.

Six were positive following a club-approved trip to Ibiza soon after the 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League final last month.

Mbappe was not with them and his positive COVID-19 test happened on international duty with France last week.

In their absence, coach Thomas Tuchel handed debuts to 18-year-olds Kays Ruiz-Atil and Arnaud Kalimuendo in attack, while the 20-year-old Bulka made just his second appearance.

He wasn’t helped when Verratti sprinted to demand the ball and the flustered goalie instead directed it straight to Ganago, who brushed off Verratti’s attempt at a tackle and smacked the ball into the top corner.

‘Yes it was a bit dangerous but that’s my way of playing. I always look for the ball because I play football. I asked for the ball,’ Verratti told broadcaster Canal Plus. ‘There are a lot of factors but we gave everything.’

Earlier, Ganago hit the post after a fine run and shot in the 17th. Ganago went close again before the break, while Ruiz-Atil looked lively.

Lens should have made it 2-0 midway through the second half, but forward Simon Banza fluffed a close-range header.

PSG had long spells on the ball but hardly threatened.

‘We struggled to create chances. we were missing players,’ Tuchel said.

His side now has a hectic schedule ahead with a home game against Marseille on Sunday followed by Metz at Parc des Princes on Wednesday.


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