Paris Saint-Germain 0-0 Nice, 5-6 pens: Coupe de France kings dethroned by loanee Bulka

By Sports Desk January 31, 2022

Paris Saint-Germain crashed out of the Coupe de France as they were beaten 6-5 on penalties by Nice after a 0-0 draw at Parc des Princes.

Marcin Bulka was the hero as he denied Leandro Paredes and Xavi Simons in the shoot-out to send the visitors through to the quarter-finals.

The PSG loanee ended the holders' 14-match winning run in the competition, while halting their quest for a third straight triumph.

Mauricio Pochettino's side also failed to score in a Coupe de France tie for the first time since losing 1-0 to Lille in the 2011 final.

Unbeaten in their eight previous meetings with Nice in all competitions, PSG welcomed Lionel Messi back into the starting line-up for the first time in a month.

The Argentina skipper was involved in the hosts' best chance of the first half as he combined with Ander Herrera to tee up Marco Verratti, who swept a shot just wide of the far post.

At the other end, Amine Gouiri tried his luck with an ambitious effort from distance, but it flew straight into the arms of Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The Italy international was also called into action just after the restart, producing smart reflexes to deny Justin Kluivert from a tight angle.

Having watched his side register just a single shot on target, Pochettino introduced Kylian Mbappe in the 63rd minute for his 200th PSG appearance.

But it was the visitors who went close to snatching a dramatic winner, Danilo Pereira blocking Kluivert with five minutes remaining, while Jean-Clair Todibo got in the way of Messi's goalbound effort at the other end.

The first five kicks of the subsequent shoot-out were successful before Bulka kept out Paredes' tame effort, although Donnarumma immediately denied Andy Delort in return.

Dante's timely Panenka put Nice in control as it went into sudden death, before Simons' attempt was beaten away by Bulka.

What does it mean? More shoot-out woes for PSG

PSG's last Coupe de France disappointment also came after a penalty shoot-out, when they were beaten by Rennes in the 2019 final.

This reverse was also their first in 12 matches across all competitions since going down 2-1 against Manchester City in November.

Nice, who last won this title in 1997, will face Marseille in the last eight.

Bulka heroics

The PSG loanee came back to haunt his parent club as he produced brilliant saves to deny Paredes and Simons from 12 yards.

The goalkeeper only had two saves to make against the lacklustre hosts in 90 minutes. Nevertheless, he provided a calming presence between the sticks throughout the contest before stepping up when it mattered most.

Another quiet day for Icardi

Once again, Icardi failed to inspire PSG and was substituted just after the hour mark.

The former Inter forward did not register a single shot on goal, while his tally of six touches was the lowest for any PSG player to play at least 45 minutes of a match since Opta began collecting data across all competitions in 2014-15.

What's next?

PSG return to Ligue 1 action when they travel to Lille on Sunday, the same day that Nice welcome Clermont in the top flight.

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