Paris St-Germain denied chance to top table in draw with St Etienne



Substitute Robert Beric scored an injury-time leveller to deny Paris St Germain a return to the top of Ligue 1 as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to St Etienne.

Lucas Moura had scored a second-half penalty after Kevin Malcuit fouled Blaise Matuidi inside the area to hand the hosts a deserved lead, but the Slovenian forward struck late on to deny Unai Emery’s side all three points.

PSG registered the first shot at goal in the 10th minute when Thomas Meunier fired an effort from distance straight into the arms of Stephane Ruffier.

The hosts continued to make all the running but St Etienne’s back three held them at bay as PSG’s passing in the final third proved to be their downfall in the early stages.

Les Verts responded well and Fabien Lemoine had a decent opportunity to test Kevin Trapp but his poor header flew over the German goalkeeper’s crossbar from a corner.

The visitors continued to threaten as Lemoine once again missed the target with an effort from distance before Nolan Roux cushioned a half-volley wide of the goal.

St Etienne’s Henri Saivet went as close as either team had gone so far just before the half-hour mark but his flicked effort ricocheted off Trapp at his near post as PSG continued to wobble.

The hosts tried in vain to give themselves the advantage as the first half closed out but Hatem Ben Arfa blasted a rushed effort straight at Ruffier, before Emery’s men were denied a penalty when Malcuit appeared to make contact with Matuidi inside the area.

An already injury-hit PSG side were forced into a reshuffle at the break as Gregorz Krychowiak replaced Layvin Kurzawa, forced off with a thigh problem, but their frustrations in front of goal continued with Ben Arfa in particular guilty of rushing two efforts.

Emery threw on Angel Di Maria just before the hour mark to replace a disappointing Jese, and his free-kick almost created the opening goal but Lucas could only head wide from a promising position.

Di Maria proved the spark and only some wise keeping from Ruffier prevented the Argentinian from lifting the ball into the net before the hosts were gifted the perfect opportunity to open the scoring when Malcuit pushed Matuidi inside the area.

Lucas took charge and confidently sent Ruffier the wrong way, slotting the ball into the left corner, to hand the Parisians the lead in the 67th minute.

An expected response from the visitors did not come to fruition initially and Di Maria almost doubled PSG’s lead direct from a free-kick, only for Ruffier to save, before substitute Edison Cavani acrobatically fired wide on the follow-up.

However, deep into added time, St Etienne substitute Beric grabbed a point when he bundled the ball home at the back post from Malcuit’s delivery to stun the Parc des Princes crowd.

davoice (22364 Posts)