Paris Saint-Germain will not defend their Coupe de France title this season.
It’s no secret that PSG hoover up the vast majority of trophies in French football, but there will be no double for Mauricio Pochettino this season despite his side’s comparative dominance in Ligue 1.
PSG hosted Nice in the Coupe de France round of 16 on Monday night in a game that consolidated the return of Lionel Messi, who has hitherto struggled in domestic matches for the club.
PSG 0-0 Nice (5-6)
However, much like PSG and Nice’s league clash at the Parc des Princes this season, there wasn’t too much to write home about in regulation time as neither side managed to break the deadlock.
As such, the two French giants once again played out a goalless draw in the capital with a penalty shootout duly being required to see which team would progress to the quarter-finals.
It’s no secret that shootouts are something of a sporting lottery and the footballing gods were never going to give PSG preferential treatment despite the embarrassment of riches in their squad.
Nevertheless, the first four spot-kicks were all converted with Messi and Kylian Mbappe leading the charge for the hosts by making no mistake from 12 yards.
The same can’t be said of Leandro Paredes, though, whose miss opened the door for Nice to claim the win before sudden death, but Gianluigi Dunnarumma came to the rescue by thwarting Andy Delort.
Dante scores ice-cold Panenka
As such, the shootout progressed into ever more nerve-wracking territory with the tension eventually culminating in Dante stepping up to take Nice’s seventh penalty of the night.
And while you should never judge a book by its cover, footballing stereotypes make it so that a 38-year-old centre-back opting for a Panenka in sudden death of a shootout just never happens.
However, try telling that to Dante who proceeded to show that ice runs through his veins with an effortless Panenka that left Donnarumma defeated before it even crossed the line – check it out:
Now that, ladies and gentlemen, takes some serious nerve.
Simons misses crucial penalty
And it proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for PSG as they failed to respond to Dante’s deft effort with Xavi Simons ultimately missing from 12 yards to give Nice the victory.
It felt like a cruel moment when consider that Simons, 18, is literally 20 years younger than Dante, but penalty shootouts are just about the most brutal thing in football and boy do PSG know it.
Nice will now press on in the Coupe de France last eight, while PSG look to regroup and focus their attentions into winning the Ligue 1 and Champions League crowns over the next three months.