Paris Saint-Germain once again relied on a late goal to scrape a result in Ligue 1 on Sunday night, playing out a stodgy 1-1 draw with Lyon.
Thilo Kehrer’s 75th-minute strike was enough to salvage a point for the visiting side, but the familiar theme of a lack of collective cohesion reared its head once more for Mauricio Pochettino’s star-studded squad, translating itself into disharmony at the back.
And PSG’s early defensive sluggishness was punished by the hosts, as Peter Bosz’s men took the lead in just the eighth minute. After Houssem Aouar squandered a one-on-one opportunity in the opening exchanges, Lucas Paqueta made no mistake in the same situation as he expertly brought down Bruno Guimaraes’ stunning lofted pass and rifled home with aplomb.
As the intensity of Lyon’s game waned towards the latter stages of the opening period, however, PSG were able to get a firmer grip of proceedings. After surviving a few dangerous breakaway moves from the hosts, the Parisians went close to levelling the scores just before half time as Kylian Mbappe curled a delicious attempt that agonisingly flicked the outside of the post.
Both sides ought to have found the back of the net within the opening 15 minutes of the restart, with Mauro Icardi passing up a gilt-edged chance in front of goal from an inch-perfect Nuno Mendes delivery before Aouar once again failed to convert after some heart-in-mouth pinball in the PSG penalty box.
The visiting side were slightly better following a change of shape after the break. A shift to a diamond in midfield allowed the Parisians more control of possession and, although barely deserving of an equaliser, substitute Kehrer managed to find one with 15 minutes remaining.
Fellow substitute Edouard Michut was on hand to deliver a cut back into the box, only for the ball to roll through the area all the way to Kehrer, whose mishit effort eventually found its way past Anthony Lopes in the Lyon goal.
Pochettino’s side may have been ahead just minutes after, only for Mbappe to once again hit the outside of the post via a gorgeously curled free-kick from the left wing. In the end, however, the Frenchman’s misfortune in front of goal reflected his side’s general lack of threat in what was a severely disappointing performance.
The draw puts PSG 11 points clear at the top of the French top flight, although inspires no confidence for the prize they’re truly after.
Keylor Navas (GK) – 6/10 – Had no chance of saving Paqueta’s finish but did well to keep out several other efforts on his goal.
Colin Dagba (RB) – 6/10 – Generally strong defensively, registering four ball recoveries, although was largely slack in possession and failed to have much of an impact when venturing upfield.
Marquinhos (CB) – 7/10 – As composed as ever, reading the game well to make four recoveries – including one piece of pivotal defending to deny a certain goal at 1-0.
Presnel Kimpembe (CB) – 5/10 – Pulled out of position and was nowhere to be seen as one long diagonal into his channel dissected PSG for the opener. Woke up after a shaky first half though, and regained some composure following the interval.
Nuno Mendes (LB) – 6/10 – A creative danger, whipping in some unbelievable crosses and managing three key passes. Although he may have done better on the cover to prevent the opening goal, he was generally solid at the back.
Ander Herrera (CM) – 5/10 – Another tenacious display, tearing around and constantly harrying his opposition to turn possession over on numerous occasions, but was too passive with the ball.
Leandro Paredes (CM) – 5/10 – At times overwhelmed by the dynamism of the hosts’ midfield but was invariably combative at the heart of the side, putting in some beautifully crunching challenges.
Marco Verratti (CM) – 5/10 – Had some silky touches in a congested midfield to knit things together and build play, but generally struggled to impose his genius against the intensity and physicality of Lyon’s press and, as a result, gave away several cheap fouls born out of frustration.
Georginio Wijnaldum (RW) – 2/10 – His movement and pressing were lackadaisical, his overall influence non-existent, and his desire pathetic. Saw more of the ball with a slight tweak of system after the break but still looked utterly disinterested – a January move might be for the best.
Mauro Icardi (ST) – 4/10 – Had some decent moments of link-up play but was simply absent for the large majority of the game. Missed a brilliant chance to level the score early in the second period.
Kylian Mbappe (LW) – 6/10 – Inevitably his side’s brightest spark, looking the only man in blue capable of creating something for large spells. Desperately unlucky to hit the post in the first half before doing the same with a sensational free-kick in the second.
Thilo Kehrer (RB) – 7/10 – Managed to squeeze in an equaliser following his introduction.
Xavi Simons (CM) – 6/10 – Immediately injected some drive and intensity into a dull midfield.
Edouard Michut (CM) – 7/10 – Bright and creative after coming on, assisting his side’s equaliser.
Eric Ebimbe (CM) – N/A