Mon, Aug 15, 2011 - Page 18 News List

SOCCER: Big-spenders PSG flounder in draw against Rennes

AFP, PARIS

Stade Brestois 29’s Jonathan Ayite, right, shoots as Valenciennes’s Nicolas Penneteau dives to attempt the save during their match on Saturday in Valenciennes, France.

Photo: AFP

A last-minute goal denied Paris Saint-Germain their first win of the new French League season as Jonathan Pitroipa bagged a point for hosts Stade Rennes in a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

PSG looked as if they would belatedly get their season into gear and take the points after a Kevin Gameiro goal gave the capital club a 73rd-minute lead.

However, Burkina Faso striker Pitroipa’s breakaway effort right at the death, firing beyond goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, ensured that the nouveaux riches Parisians, flush with Qatari cash, dropped vital points again on the heels of last week’s false start, which brought a 1-0 home reverse to Gameiro’s old side Lorient.

PSG coach Antoine Kombouare was a frustrated man afterward.

“I have mixed feelings — the first feeling being one of disappointment as the win was there for the taking with just a couple of minutes left. We have to be more solid and less naive, but you learn from your mistakes and I hope this is the first and the last time,” he said. “Secondly, I can draw great satisfaction in that we showed we have the makings of a side — we were [the Rennes goal apart] solid and disciplined.”

“We are down because overall we played well and had chances, so it is a shame to have let in the late goal. We mustn’t make a drama of it and look at the things we did well and draw on that,” PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi said.

Prior to Pitroipa’s late intervention, Gameiro appeared to have done enough to seal victory as he neatly finished after Jeremy Menez had crossed into the box for PSG’s first goal in five years at Rennes.

PSG, who have spent 80 million euros (US$114 million) during the summer in a bid to chase down a first league title since 1994, were not the only top side kicking themselves over dropped points as Olympique Lyon also had to settle for a 1-1 stalemate, in their case at home to promoted AC Ajaccio.

Argentine forward Lisandro Lopez saved Lyon’s embarrassment with an 83rd-minute leveler after Frederic Sammaritano had put their Corsican visitors ahead on the hour.

The point, added to an opening-day win at OGC Nice, left Lyon on four points sharing joint fourth spot with Rennes.

However, it is Toulouse, Stade Malherbe Caen and former giants AS Saint-Etienne who are setting the pace after the trio all recorded their second win in as many games on Saturday.

Toulouse, first day winners at Ajaccio, saw off promoted Dijon FCO 2-0 with Turk Umut Bulut and Paulo Machado — from the penalty spot — on target while a last-minute goal from Sylvain Marchal gave Saint-Etienne, buoyant after a shock win at Girondins de Bordeaux, a 1-0 win over AS Nancy-Lorraine.

Meanwhile, Caen thanked goals from Romain Hamouna and Pierre-Alain Frau for a 2-1 success at Sochaux-Montbeliard.

It was an emotional return for Frau, who won the title last season with Lille only not to have his contract renewed, as the 31-year-old was a big Sochaux favorite earlier in his career before going on to win the league with Lyon and then LOSC Lille Metropole.

Elsewhere, Lorient held Bordeaux 1-1, while Valenciennes and Stade Brestois 29 played to a scoreless draw.

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