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‘Unforgivable’, ‘pitiful’, ‘a new fiasco’: French press blast PSG after Man Utd defeat

PSG found another way to be knocked out of the Champions League in Wednesday's shock defeat to Manchester United, this team becoming the first in history to throw away a two-goal lead from the first leg away from home. And the French press had little sympathy.

'Unforgivable', 'pitiful', 'a new fiasco': French press blast PSG after Man Utd defeat
Photo: AFP/Screengrab Twitter @JPHLeclaire/L'Equipe

While Manchester United celebrated a historic victory in Paris, thanks in part to a last minute penalty given after the referee consulted video replays, for PSG this defeat will feel like groundhog day.

For the third year running they fail to make the quarter-finals, after their defeat at the hands of Real Madrid a year ago and their humiliating collapse against Barcelona in 2017 after they had won the first leg 4-0. They went on to lose that second leg 6-1 in Barcelona.

That defeat, known as 'La Remontada' (the comeback) is still painful for everyone connected to the Paris club.

After another shock exit the French press on Thursday were in little mood to be sympathetic with PSG after their 3 -1 loss at home to a Manchester United team with 10 players missing.

L'Equipe, the main sports paper ran with the front page “Even Worse” (Encore Pire), suggesting the defeat to a weakened Manchester United team at home was even more embarrassing than losing 6 – 1 to Barcelona.

“Two years after the Remontada, the unthinkable happened again,” read L'Equipe.

“This time the Parisians, despite enjoying a two-goal lead cracked at the Parc des Princes,” the paper said, referring to PSG's home stadium.

And the local newspaper in Paris Le Parisien simply called it “an unforgivable elimination”.

“An earthquake and a new industrial accident for Paris,” read the paper saying the defeat to Manchester was “pitiful”.

And Le Figaro newspaper described the crushing defeat as a “new fiasco” for PSG saying the team were humiliated.

Le Monde newspaper simply said PSG were “at the end of a nightmare”. Ouest France newspaper wrote of a “cataclysm” and a “curse”.

The defeat will spark yet more soul-searching among PSG's fans and notably the Qatari owners who invested in the club in 2011 with the aim of turning the club into a European powerhouse, not the laughing stock of European football.

The questions that have been asked after each elimination over recent years will be asked once again over the coming months: 'Is it the players?', 'Is it the coach?', 'Is it the club?', 'Is it the weakness of theFrench league?', 'Is it all just bad luck'? 

The answers seem harder to find than ever.

PSG's German manager Thomas Tuchel said the manner of the defeat, after they had dominated much of the game, was “perhaps impossible to analyse”.

PSG are the runaway Ligue 1 leaders, but this is the third year running in which they have gone out of the Champions League in the last 16.

“If it were a league game you would wipe your mouth and go on, but today it's horrible and cruel,” he said.

“It happens once in 100 games. We did not deserve to go out over 180 minutes, but that doesn't make it easier to deal with.”

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French government: All athletes must be vaccinated to compete in France

All athletes and sports professionals who wish to compete in France will have to be vaccinated against Covid-19, government sources told AFP on Monday.

Unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic
Unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic. Photo: Oscar del Polzo/AFP

The French parliament has just given the go-ahead for the health pass to be converted into a vaccine pass, which means that anyone wishing to enter leisure and cultural venues – including sports grounds and stadiums – will have to be vaccinated.

This goes for the crowd, but also professional sports players and staff. The government has indicated that exemptions will not be made athletes who are based outside France.

The ministry said a new vaccine pass, “applies to everyone, to volunteers and to elite sportspeople, including those coming from abroad, until further notice.”

READ ALSO What changes when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass

Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu said last week that certain events like the French Open could have a special exemption, when asked whether Novak Djokovic could play in the tournament, but this appears now to not be the case.

Questions had been asked about whether the unvaccinated Djokivic – recently deported from Australia – would be able to play in the French Open in May, but the ruling would affect all visiting sports professionals, including rugby teams from England, Ireland and Italy who are due to play in France during the Six Nations tournament in February and March.

Until now a health pass has been sufficient to enter sports grounds, which means unvaccinated players and fans were able to use a negative Covid test.

However once the vaccine pass enters into effect – scheduled to be later this week – only proof of vaccination will be affected.

French domestic sports teams were given the choice of either making sure that all their players and staff were fully vaccinated or playing behind closed doors.

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