Sluggish PSG held 1-1 at Rennes
PARIS (AP) — Substitute Paul-Georges Ntep scored a second-half equalizer just 34 seconds after coming off the bench as Paris Saint-Germain produced another lackluster performance and was held at Rennes to 1-1 in the French League on Saturday.
Ahead of a trip to Ajax for its Champions League opener on Wednesday, Laurent Blanc’s team looked sluggish and lacked the cutting edge. PSG did not create a single chance during the first half-hour as the hosts sat back in defense, then could not hold on to its lead after Zoumana Camara opened the scoring two minutes before halftime from Gregory Van der Wiel’s fine cross.
Ntep, who is often used as an impact substitute, put the team level in the 55th minute, denying PSG the chance to move to the top of the table. Replays showed his low cross was not touched by Abdoulaye Doucoure before crossing the line.
“I wanted to cross the ball,” Ntep said. “Abdoulaye missed his shot but that left (keeper) Salvatore Sirigu dumbfounded.”
PSG, which played without the injured David Luiz and Thiago Silva, remains unbeaten in the league but has won only two matches in five games, with leader Bordeaux one point clear at the top with one match in hand.
Blanc rued his players’ inability to protect their lead and the way they let Rennes create danger on counterattacks.
“If we defend a little better, we win the game 1-0. Last year, when that kind of situation arose, we had room for error as we always scored an extra goal,” Blanc said. “When you score a goal, you have to be able to win the game 1-0, even if there’s only one team that’s playing.”
Ntep had another chance 15 minutes after his equalizer but Sirigu produced a fine save.
Sweden’s all-time leading scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, created PSG’s best chances but found the crossbar after Marco Verratti picked him out with a long ball.
Saint-Etienne recovered from its 5-0 thrashing at PSG two weeks ago with a 1-0 victory over Caen that put them level on points with Bordeaux. Jean-Jacques Pierre’s own goal gave Saint-Etienne the win as the Haitian defender headed the ball straight into the top corner from Yohan Mollo’s corner in the 74th minute.
Caen created its best chance in the final minute but substitute Mathieu Duhamel’s header hit the post.
Another own goal from Lamine Kone in the 44th minute gave fourth-place Montpellier a 1-0 win over Lorient, Nice beat Metz 1-0, Bastia was held to a 1-1 home draw by Lens, and Rennes defeated Toulouse 2-0 with goals from David Ngog and Gaetan Courtet.
On Friday, Monaco’s dismal start to the season continued with a 2-1 loss at Lyon ahead of its Champions League opener against Bayer Leverkusen.