Football: 'Spineless, shameful' PSG stars face fury at training, Balotelli hits winner against old club Nice

Paris Saint-Germain's players pose for a team picture prior to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France on March 6, 2019.
Paris Saint-Germain's players pose for a team picture prior to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France on March 6, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Paris Saint-Germain players ran a gauntlet of hate and abuse after they invited 500 of their die-hard fans to witness a training session on Sunday (March 10), having earlier been blasted as "shameless" and "spineless".

Just days after their last-minute exit at the hands of Manchester United in the Champions League, the French giants' decision to invite some fans back to the Parc des Princes spectacularly backfired.

The squad's first get-together since Wednesday's last-16 defeat was switched after the words "Shameful! Spineless" and "Respect us" were graffitied at their Camp de Loges training base on Friday.

The 500 or so PSG 'Ultras' allowed into the ground two days later then screamed "Bunch of bastards" and "Show us your balls" towards the players on the field, according to videos posted on social media.

Captain Thiago Silva and defender Marquinhos attempted to calm the crowd by pleading on the public address system but their pleas were drowned out by further verbal abuse, newspaper Le Parisian reported.

The taunting, as well as the noise of firecrackers and smoke bombs, echoed around the stadium and could be heard outside the ground.

PSG's game at Nantes last weekend was postponed, although they remain well clear of second-placed Lille and all but assured a sixth Ligue 1 title in seven seasons.

'We spoilt the party'

Earlier in the day PSG's star striker Kylian Mbappe said he was left "stunned" by PSG's gut-wrenching midweek exit.

"I'm stunned. I haven't been able to sleep," he told TF1 in an interview.

Thomas Tuchel's men are also through to the last four of the French Cup, but Mbappe admitted it was hard to look ahead to the rest of the season with the pain of the defeat still raw.

"Honestly, it's hard to give it too much thought because the Champions League was our goal. The stadium was full for a magnificent occasion, we spoilt the party. We didn't want to ruin it but in the end we did."

However, the 20-year-old allayed any fears among PSG fans that his immediate future could lie elsewhere in the wake of the club's latest European failure.

"I think I will be here, that's guaranteed even," he said.

"With this elimination and all the problems it's going to create, there's no point in my personal situation being added to it. So there, that's clear and precise."

Meanwhile, in Ligue 1 on Sunday, controversial figure Mario Balotelli scored the decisive goal in Marseille's 1-0 win against his former club Nice for his fifth goal in seven matches for the side he joined in January.

Lille trail far behind

Lille kept a firm grip on second place, 14 points behind PSG, as Nicolas Pepe scored his 17th league goal of the season to beat nine-man Saint-Etienne 1-0.

Stephane Bahoken scored a 92nd-minute equaliser to claim a point for Angers at Montpellier as it finished 2-2 and Toulouse overcame Guingamp 1-0, thanks to Yaya Sanogo's first half effort.

Rennes followed up their 3-1 Europa League heroics against Arsenal on Thursday with a repeat result against lowly Caen.