Fri, Dec 07, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Late Cavani goal salvages draw for Ligue 1 leaders PSG

AFP, PARIS

Edinson Cavani saved a point for Paris Saint-Germain as the Ligue 1 leaders slipped for the second time in a week with a hugely entertaining 1-1 draw at Strasbourg on Wednesday.

The Uruguayan striker fired home a 71st-minute penalty to maintain PSG’s unbeaten record after 16 games, despite a disjointed performance without injured star attacker Neymar, equalizing Kenny Lala’s own spot-kick four minutes before the break for the spirited hosts, who came close to inflicting their opponents first league defeat of the season.

“If you arrive in flip-flops against PSG, you go home with a good spanking,” Strasbourg coach Thierry Laurey said. “We suffered at times, but we managed to minimize their offensive power. They dominated the play, but we were never in too much danger.”

Thomas Tuchel’s side, who also drew at Girondins de Bordeaux over the weekend and started without Kylian Mbappe and Thiago Silva, remain way ahead of the rest after a night in France full of late goals, incident and video assistant referee (VAR).

Champions PSG were 14 points ahead of Lille OSC, who on Tuesday moved second after beating Montpellier Herault 1-0 and stayed there thanks to Hatem Ben Arfa and Jordan Siebatcheu leading Stade Rennais to a 2-0 win at Olympique Lyonnais on Wednesday.

Bruno Genesio’s Lyon were fourth, 15 points behind PSG, while inconsistent Olympique de Marseille are a further two points back after a 3-2 defeat at Nantes.

VAR was involved in a series of key decisions on Wednesday, helping Strasbourg take the lead over PSG, with referee Antony Gautier awarding Lala’s spot-kick a full four minutes after Thilo Kehrer handled Lionel Carole’s fizzing cross.

The halftime deficit led Tuchel to bring Mbappe off the bench and it was France’s FIFA World Cup star who won the penalty that Cavani blasted past Matz Sels, Lala hacking the 19-year-old superstar down in the box.

PSG looked a different proposition to the sluggish team that slogged through the opening period and Kehrer thought he had made amends for giving away the opening penalty six minutes after the break, only to see his header saved at point-blank range by Sels.

However, as the half wore on the away side ran out of ideas and Strasbourg made a push for the win in the final minutes.

Substitute Adrien Thomasson forced a superb stop from Alphonse Areola with a minute left and the 24-year-old thought he had snatched a famous win deep in injury-time when he headed home Youssouf Fofana’s pinpoint cross.

However, while the majority of the crowd celebrated wildly, the linesman’s flag was rightly raised to rule the unfortunate Thomasson’s goal out for offside.

Chief among the other crucial decisions helped by VAR on a dramatic night was Loick Landre’s 96th-minute winner for Nimes Olympique at Stade Malherbe Caen, which came after Prince Oniangue had leveled at 1-1 in the 90th minute and was eventually given after Landre was found to be onside.

VAR also came to Bordeaux’s assistance by awarding a penalty slotted home by Francois Kamano as they followed up on drawing with PSG at the weekend with a last gasp 3-2 win over Champions League-chasing AS Saint-Etienne at the Matmut Atlantique.

Pablo bagged the points in the final minute and Bordeaux’s opening goal came at a cost to Neven Subotic, who was stretchered off with blood pouring down his face after being clattered by his own goalkeeper, Stephane Ruffier, just before Jimmy Briand scuffed in.

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