PSG fails to close gap on Monaco after 0-0 draw vs. Toulouse
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 20, 2017 10:52 AM
PSG's Edinson Cavani, center, shoots past Toulouse's Christopher Jullien during their League One soccer match, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, France, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer
PARIS (AP) — Days after producing one of the best matches in its history, Paris Saint-Germain fell back to earth with a 0-0 home draw against Toulouse in the French league on Sunday.
Rather than closing the gap at the top, PSG remains three points behind Monaco — which has a much better goal difference — and is level on points with third-place Nice.
"We missed a chance but we must keep going," PSG coach Unai Emery said. "I believe in the team."
This was nothing like the rampant PSG side that beat Barcelona 4-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday night, tearing the five-time European champion apart with a breathtaking attacking display in the first leg of their Round of 16 match.
Although PSG is unbeaten in 13 games, this was a poor performance from Emery's side, which lost 2-0 at Toulouse in one of four league defeats this season.
"We need to work harder to open up packed defenses," Emery said. "We needed a bit more energy and desire today."
PSG was missing winger Angel Di Maria, who scored twice against Barcelona, while midfielder Marco Verratti started on the bench.
"You have to look after all of the players," Emery said, explaining his changes. "Those who need to play matches and those who need to rest to avoid muscle fatigue."
Verratti came on at halftime and immediately upped the tempo.
Soon after the break, top scorer Edinson Cavani had a shot saved by teenage goalkeeper Alban Lafont, who was outstanding when Toulouse beat PSG 2-0 in September.
The 18-year-old Lafont denied Cavani again in the 52nd minute from close range, and Cavani held his head in frustration after hitting the post from the rebound.
Winger Julian Draxler, who also scored against Barca, telegraphed a tame shot at Lafont as anxiety grew among fans hoping for another goal feast at Parc des Princes.
With 20 minutes left, Brazilian defender Marquinhos saw his goal-bound header blocked by Presnel Kimpembe, his own teammate, who was lurking near the line.
From glory to frustration: it was that kind of night for PSG.
Even with six minutes of injury time, PSG failed to find a winner against a modest side placed eighth in Ligue 1.
Monaco drew 1-1 away to struggling Bastia on Friday night, while Nice won 1-0 away to last-place Lorient on Saturday.
Next weekend, PSG faces a tough trip away to play bitter rival Marseille.
LYON 4, DIJON 2
Late goals rescued a Lyon side again showing its defensive shortcomings.
Dijon led 2-1 before conceding an equalizer in the 80th minute.
Striker Alexandre Lacazette scored a penalty with six minutes left and forward Nabil Fekir finished off the visitors in the last minute as Lyon maintained an outside chance of finishing third and securing a Champions League place.
Those slim hopes rest largely with Lacazette, who took his season's tally to 21 league goals in 21 games.
The 25-year-old Lacazette enhanced his burgeoning reputation by scoring twice in a 4-1 win at AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League on Thursday. He recently said he expects to leave this summer, with several big clubs reportedly interested in signing him.
Fourth-place Lyon, which has a game in hand, is 13 points behind third-place Paris Saint-Germain and second-place Nice.
Midfielder Corentin Tolisso got Lyon's opener in the 11th minute and the equalizer, while strikers Julio Tavares and Lois Diony scored for Dijon.
MONTPELLIER 2, SAINT-ETIENNE 1
Lyon's day got even better with news that bitter local rival Saint-Etienne lost.
Winger Kevin Monnet-Paquet put the visitors ahead in the 12th minute, but midfielder Paul Lasne leveled for Montpellier in the 49th.
Two minutes later, Saint-Etienne forward Jorginho was sent off.
Benin striker Steve Mounie grabbed the winner with his 10th of the campaign.
Saint-Etienne remains in fifth place, four points behind Lyon, while Montpellier is 11th.
BORDEAUX 3, GUINGAMP 0
Guinean winger Francois Kamano scored one and made another as Bordeaux moved level on points with Saint-Etienne.
The 20-year-old Kamano netted in the 13th minute and center half Nicolas Pallois headed home for Bordeaux just before halftime.
Guingamp defender Jonathan Martins Pereira was sent off in the 59th for a crude tackle on Kamano, who later set up striker Gaetan Laborde.