PSG players argued at practice ahead of Champions League semi

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Paris Saint-Germain is weathering a storm off the pitch amid a Champions League semifinal battle with archrival Lyon.

A dispute broke out during a tactical session at PSG’s training ground ahead of Sunday’s first-leg semifinal contest, which the team lost 3-2.

According to The Athletic’s Charlotte Harpur, the altercation occurred after a cross was played into midfielder Kheira Hamraoui and forward Sandy Baltimore. Communication broke down between the duo, resulting in a missed goal opportunity.

Hamraoui reportedly mumbled to herself, with Baltimore telling her to stop. Hamraoui then insulted her teammate. The two exchanged heated words and had to be separated.

The training was cut short, per The Athletic, and players and staff debriefed about the incident, but Hamraoui was not present. The star midfielder decided not to travel with the team and ruled herself out of the Champions League matchup with Lyon.

This isn’t the first time Hamraoui was involved in a controversy.

In November, Aminata Diallo and Hamraoui were assaulted by two masked men while driving home from a team dinner. Hamraoui was attacked with a metal bar, suffering bruises to her shins and legs. Diallo was detained in connection with the assault on her teammate, but she was later released without charges. The investigation is ongoing.

The incident and resulting investigation have strained PSG’s locker-room morale, with the latest incident between Hamroui and Baltimore compounding the club tensions.

“We can hate each other outside but on the field, we have to manage to win,” PSG captain Grace Geyoro told French newspaper L’Equipe. “I tried to ensure that everyone could feel good on the pitch.”

The beleaguered French club will aim to regroup in time for the second leg of the Champions League semifinal, with PSG hosting Lyon on Saturday.