Sun, Apr 08, 2018 - Page 11 News List

PSG’s wait for title continues after tie

FIRST WIN:RC Deportivo de La Coruna defeated Malaga 3-2, giving manager Clarence Seedorf his first victory with the team and keeping alive hopes of avoiding relegation

AFP, SAINT-ETIENNE, France

AS Saint-Etienne’s Mathieu Debuchy, left, challenges Paris Saint-Germain’s Angel di Maria for the ball in their Ligue 1 match in Saint-Etienne, France, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

A Mathieu Debuchy own-goal earned 10-man Paris Saint-Germain a fortuitous 1-1 draw against an AS Saint-Etienne side who had the measure of the runaway Ligue 1 leaders for much of Friday’s frantic encounter at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

Former Newcastle United forward Remy Cabella struck in the 17th minute to put Saint-Etienne ahead, but he then missed a penalty.

With the hosts unable to exploit the sending off of Presnel Kimpembe, PSG earned an unlikely draw when Debuchy deflected a shot into his own net in the second minute of injury-time.

“The first half was the worst we had played all season, but I am happy with the way we reacted and for the work that we put in during the second half; we deserved a point,” PSG coach Unai Emery said.

PSG turned up knowing that a win and defeat for AS Monaco 24 hours later against Nantes would hand them the title with six games of the season remaining.

Kylian Mbappe started with Edinson Cavani on the bench, and Neymar no doubt keeping tabs on proceedings from at home in Brazil, where he is recovering from an operation on a fractured foot.

In-form Saint Etienne were looking to extend their unbeaten run to 10, and they raced out of the blocks with Cabella’s 17th-minute tap-in placing their well-heeled visitors on the back foot.

Cabella top and tailed the move as he fed the ball on the right to Debuchy, who produced a dangerous high ball into the box, with Jonathan Bamba missing a header only for Cabella to slot past PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola to the delight of the home fans.

Saint-Etienne were awarded a questionable penalty in the 29th minute, when Romain Hamouma hit the deck after minimal contact from Kimpembe, with Layvin Kurzawa also booked for contesting the decision.

Cabella stepped up to take the spot-kick, but Areola dived correctly to the right to deny the Corsican-born striker’s low effort, Mbappe cheekily standing behind Cabella indicating correctly to Areola where he thought the spot-kick would go.

Out-of-sorts PSG’s night went from bad to worse when Kimpembe was red-carded for picking up a second booking for catching Hamouma’s ankle with his studs five minutes from the break.

The referee blew his whistle for halftime, but not before dishing out two further yellow cards to PSG’s Javier Pastore and Lassana Diarra.

Kimpembe’s premature exclusion forced Emery into structural alterations, with Thiago Silva replacing underperforming Diarra for the second half.

It was a more dynamic and purposeful PSG who emerged, the speed of Mbappe proving a handful for the hosts.

Cavani entered the fray for Pastore for the final 20 minutes, but he had his head in his hands when shooting wide from close range into an open goal.

That howler, which seemed to sum up PSG’s largely forgettable night up to then, came on a break following intense action down the other end, with Areola doing well to deflect Oussama Tannane’s shot off the crossbar.

As the game moved into added time, the Ligue 1 gods finally smiled on PSG, with Debuchy deflecting in a shot from Thomas Meunier.

While frustrating for the Qatari-backed side, the stalemate will only have delayed their title coronation.

BUNDESLIGA

AP, HANNOVER, Germany

Hannover 96 on Friday defeated Werder Bremen 2-1 to end their five-game losing streak and all but secure Bundesliga survival.

The visitors went closest early on, but Martin Harnik broke the deadlock when he got his toe to Miiko Albornoz’ cross and beat Bremen goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka at the near post.

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