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Cavani Rescues PSG

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Edinson Cavani came off the bench to save Paris Saint-Germain’s blushes and maintain their Ligue 1 unbeaten run as the champions retained top spot with a 1-1 draw at plucky Reims on Saturday.

The result means PSG will finish the weekend top of Ligue 1 on 14 points ahead of Rennes, who drew with Lille on Friday, on 13 while Caen are third on 12 after a 2-1 win over Montpellier.

All eyes, however, will be on Marseille on Sunday night as they host Lyon in the pick of the weekend games.

At Reims, the two goals came within a minute of each other as home defender Jordan Saibatcheu took advantage of some hapless defending to give his side an 83rd minute lead, which would have been enough to carry his side level with the Parisians at the top.

But PSG responded in style as Argentine playmaker Javier Pastore played a peach of a through-ball and Cavani rushed into the area to clip a slick shot past goalkeeper Kossi Agassa.

It was his fifth league strike of the season.

“It would have been an injustice if we had lost this match, but we’re disappointed with the result,” said PSG coach Laurent Blanc.

“Because we should also have scored more goals. We just were not nasty enough, in the good sense of the word.”

A badly misfiring Zlatan Ibrahimovic had missed a sitter on 62 minutes, fluffing a straightforward header with Agassa sat on the floor and the goal entirely at his mercy, the Swede inexplicably nodding an easy chance wide.

“I thought I played alright, but I have to admit I really did miss a very easy chance indeed,” the giant Swedish striker admitted.

That was the moment Blanc went for broke and brought on Angel Di Maria, Cavani and Blaise Matuidi, who had been left on the bench after the midweek 2-0 win over Malmo in the Champions League.

Reims handler Olivier Guegan expressed frustration at his side’s inability to hold on to their hard-earned lead.

“We’re satisfied with the point. We’ve been on a good run of form this season,” he said.

“But it’s a shame when you open the scores against this kind of club only to concede an equaliser straight away.”

Ezequiel Lavezzi almost forced a breakthrough on 17 minutes after chipping Agassa, only to see his shot agonisingly cleared off the line by a back-tracking defender.

And a bullet-header from Marquinos, partnering captain Thiago Silva in central defence, was stopped thanks to lightning reflexes on the hour by Agassa, a 37-year-old from Togo.

Reims had gone into the game third in Ligue 1 and almost took a first-half lead when Nicolas de Preville hit the post on 40 minutes with PSG stopper Kevin Trapp rooted to his line.

On Friday, Rennes temporarily moved level on points with PSG after a 1-1 home draw against ten-man Lille, who had their Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama sent off.

Promoted Corsican minnows Gazelec Ajaccio scored their first ever Ligue 1 goal in a 2-1 defeat at Guingamp.

Senegal-born Kader Mangane was the man on target after 36 minutes of their sixth top-flight game, but his side remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

Elsewhere Nice got a 3-1 win at Bastia and Angers beat fellow Ligue 1 new boys Troyes 1-0.

@AFP

Tongai Mwenje

Tongai Mwenje is a Senior Editor with Zimbabwe's largest online sports magazine Sportbrief www.sportbrief.co.zw. He has been writing professionally since 2012 and currently writes for technology and sport blogs. He has vast experience in digital marketing, sports reporting and analysis. He is also a Sports and Technology columnist with Financial Gazette Online Sports Column and Technology Magazine respectively.

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