Silva slip gives Monaco point
A Thiago Silva own-goal earned AS Monaco FC a point as they held leaders Paris Saint-Germain to a 1-1 draw on Sunday and kept themselves five points behind the champions atop the table.
AS Monaco FC 1 - 1 Paris Saint-Germain
Javier Pastore's eighth-minute goal looked as if it might give PSG what would have appeared an almost unassailable lead in the title race. However, with Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic in inspired mood, the hosts persisted and were rewarded when Silva uncharacteristically gifted them a point when he put through his own goal 16 minutes from time to keep Claudio Ranieri's men in the title running.
PSG had only won three times in 37 previous visits to Monaco for a Ligue 1 encounter, but they started positively, safe in the knowledge they had a healthy cushion in hand over their hosts, and almost exclusively enjoyed possession in the opening minutes. The capacity crowd at the Stade Louis II could barely have been surprised when the visitors went in front. From a Thiago Motta corner, Alex flicked on at the near post, and after the ball ricocheted off Monaco defender Ricardo Carvalho, Pastore pounced clinically.
The goal sparked Monaco into life, and after James Rodriguez had sent a header flashing goalwards, Lucas Ocampos' long-range drive brought a full-length diving stop from Salvatore Sirigu - having pushed the ball to the feet of Emmanuel Rivière, the Italian international was fortunate not to see the Monaco forward level. Only a timely Silva block then prevented the former AS Saint-Etienne and Toulouse FC striker from equalising as the hosts seized the initiative.
The inimitable Zlatan Ibrahimovic perhaps should have snatched it straight back after being freed by Maxwell, but the Swedish international's famed finishing skills deserted him as he sent his shot wide of the target. The combination of Maxwell and Pastore down the Paris left caused Monaco concerns, but Joao Moutinho could have eased those worries had he been able to keep a half-volley down.
There has been much speculation over the future of Subasic in the Monaco goal, but for now the Croatian international remains firmly in charge of the gloves, and it is not by default, as he showed when he leapt to his right to paw away a trademark thunderbolt free-kick from Ibrahimovic. He repeated the feat when another set-piece from the Swede deflected wickedly off Ocampos in the defensive wall to keep his team in touch at the break.
Subasic's frustration of PSG's star striker continued after the interval. After Moutinho had sent Lucas tumbling, Ibrahimovic smashed another shot goalwards only to once again see the Monaco goalkeeper push out his bullet-like effort. Sirigu could not snooze, however, and had to move smartly to punch away a dangerous Layvin Kurzawa cross and then raised pulses when he spilled Geoffrey Kondogbia's shot before pouncing on the loose ball before Rivière could take advantage.
Shorn of the injured Radamel Falcao and with January signing Dimitar Berbatov only ready for a place among the substitutes at kick-off, Monaco lacked cutting edge, even after the emergence of the Bulgarian international just after the hour mark. Fortunately, they were given succour from an unlikely source in Silva, who sliced his attempted clearance of Fabinho's cross into his own net.
PSG would still have added a sixth win to their eight-game unbeaten run but for Subasic, who brilliantly halted Ibrahimovic's left-foot shot, an opportunity created by the Swede's out-of-this-world first touch. It would have been a worthy matchwinner, but Monaco - and Subasic, in particular - deserved their point.