Edinson Cavani scores late penalty to extend PSG’s lead to 14 points
Kylian Mbappe had a key role in preventing a first league defeat for Paris St-Germain. However, they could only draw at Strasbourg.
Leaders Paris St-Germain dropped points again in Ligue 1 as penalties at either end resulted in a 1-1 draw at Strasbourg.
Thomas Tuchel’s men had conceded late to draw against Bordeaux at the weekend. But it was the champions who had to come from behind to earn a share of the spoils at the Stade de la Meinau on Wednesday.
PSG were blunt in the first half and trailed to Kenny Lala’s spot-kick. This after Thilo Kehrer was adjudged to have handled. But the Strasbourg hero turned villain with a wild swipe at inspirational substitute Kylian Mbappe that saw Edinson Cavani level with a penalty of his own.
There was late drama when Adrien Thomasson thought he had won it with a header for the hosts in stoppage time. However, he was flagged offside.
Back-to-back draws represent the first minor wobble of Tuchel’s Ligue 1 career. Additionally given how Paris St-Germain missed the injured Neymar and rested Mbappe before the break. The coach will hope to have both fit and firing swiftly.
PSG, some 14 points clear at the top of the table, made a slow start. Only threatening occasionally from crosses into a physical forward pairing. Before the champions fell behind in controversial fashion five minutes before half-time.
Referee Antony Gautier was instructed by VAR to consult the replay after Kehrer blocked a cross. Eventually the official decided that the ball struck the defender’s arm – and not his chest – in the area. Lala stroked home the consequent penalty.
Mbappe was introduced at the break and his wonderful cross picked out Kehrer unmarked in front of goal. Only for Matz Sels to make a superb instinctive stop.
Following this, Cavani was denied by an offside flag and then curled a free-kick just over. However, he was on the score-sheet when Lala foolishly clattered into Mbappe.
However, PSG could not force a winner. Sels saved again from Kehrer and then from Eric Choupo-Moting. Additionally, Strasbourg would have stolen the points but for a late Alphonse Areola stop to keep out Thomasson.
Thomasson came closer still in stoppage time, with an offside flag ruling out his close-range header.
Paris St-Germain were uninspiring when Mbappe and Neymar were missing against Toulouse, before slipping to a draw last time out after the Brazilian’s withdrawal. They then offered nothing in attack until Mbappe’s introduction in this game. It is key Tuchel keeps his two stars fit.
PSG looked a very different proposition with Mbappe on the pitch. He created a golden opportunity for Kehrer and would have had a hand in a Cavani goal had the offside flag not gone up. Sporting bleached hair for the first time, he needed no help to stand out.
The postponement of Saturday’s clash with Montpellier due to protests in Paris gives Tuchel time to get Neymar back fit for next week’s crucial Champions League trip to Red Star Belgrade.