PSG clinch title despite defeat

Paris: Paris Saint-Germain clinched the French league title for the second successive season on Wednesday before going down to a 2-1 home defeat against Rennes at the Parc des Princes.

Confirmation that PSG had secured the Ligue 1 championship came through just before they kicked off their match as it emerged that nearest challengers Monaco had been held to a 1-1 draw by Guingamp.

News of the result in the principality was met with jubilation by Paris fans gathered for their match.

The result left second-placed Monaco seven points behind PSG with only two matches of the season remaining and means that Claudio Ranieri`s side will have to settle for the runners-up spot and automatic Champions League qualification.

Monaco took the lead against Guingamp in the 77th minute courtesy of a strike from the in-form Dimitar Berbatov, his fifth in his last four games.

However, Fatih Atik equalised for the Bretons five minutes from the end, and PSG fans cheered as it filtered through to them that Monaco had been pegged back.

Guingamp, who won the French Cup 2-0 at the weekend against Rennes, hung on for a precious draw in their fight against relegation despite having Moustapha Diallo sent off.PSG appeared buoyant at the start of their match and took the lead inside three minutes when Edinson Cavani found Ezequiel Lavezzi, who drilled home.

However, Rennes recovered to equalise midway through the first half, on-loan Marseille winger Foued Kadir firing into the net through a crowd of bodies in the PSG box.

Paul-Georges Ntep set up that goal, and four minutes later the France under-21 forward put Rennes in front, his free-kick from wide on the left avoiding everyone in the box as it sailed into the net at the far post.

That proved to be the end of the scoring, with the home side unable to conjure an equaliser even after the introduction of Zlatan Ibrahimovic just before the hour mark, the Swede making his first appearance in a month after a thigh injury.

Remarkably, it was PSG`s first home league defeat in 30 matches since a nine-man Rennes side also won 2-1 at the Parc des Princes in November 2012, and the result leaves Rennes almost certainly safe from the threat of relegation.

Paris have toiled in the league ever since being knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea last month, with this defeat following a loss at Lyon and a 1-1 draw at Sochaux 10 days ago.

However, their dominance of Ligue 1 was previously absolute, and they have not been off the top of the table since October.

Helped by Ibrahimovic`s tally of 25 goals, they have already set a new record for the most goals scored in a Ligue 1 campaign and are on course to break the record for the most points.

Despite losing to Rennes, PSG have 83 points with two matches left, one fewer than the all-time best mark, set by Lyon in the 2005-06 season.

It is PSG`s fourth French title since their foundation in 1970, following previous triumphs in 1986, 1994 and last season, and is added to the League Cup they won last month by beating Lyon 2-1 in the final.

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