Moussa Dembélé, Marquinhos, Lyon, PSG
Match Reports

Lyon denied by another PSG late show

Publish on 09/01/2022 at 22:39 - I. HOLYMAN

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Thilo Kehrer cancelled out Lucas Paqueta's early goal as Paris Saint-Germain earned a point with a 1-1 draw at Lyon on Sunday.

THE MATCH

No other team has beaten PSG more times than Lyon since the Qatari takeover of the French capital club in 2011, and with the visitors decimated by injury and COVID-19, the meeting at the Groupama Stadium presented OL with an excellent opportunity to record a sixth win in the duo's 22nd meeting over that period.

 

With just 24 points from their opening 18 games — their joint-lowest total since the turn of the millenium — Peter Bosz's men needed a good start. In fact, they got a great one thanks to Lucas Paqueta. 

 

Houssem Aouar had already tested Keylor Navas (6') before Paqueta beat the Costa Rica international. Bruno Guimaraes' through ball was excellent, and his fellow Brazil international gave the pass the finish it deserved, firing low and across the PSG goalkeeper for a superb seventh league strike of the campaign (8').

 

Paris dominated possession, but without the injured Neymar and the absent Leo Messi — the Argentine has only just recovered from COVID — Mauricio Pochettino's men struggled to create any significant danger.

 

Had Paqueta passed to the unmarked Aouar instead of shooting (20'), Lyon might have had a second, and the near-miss roused the visitors: Anthony Lopes was forced into his first significant contribution of the night by Marquinhos' shot from the edge of the area (24').

 

 

As the break approached, however, PSG — leaders before kick-off with a ten-point advantage over second-placed Nice — suddenly sparked into life. Castello Lukeba very nearly turned Colin Dagba's driven cross beyond Lopes, only failing to score an own-goal by the finest of margins (38'). 

 

Kylian Mbappé — the only one of PSG's superstar front trio on the pitch — then pinged a curled effort of a post with Lopes flailing (42') in a brilliant but all too isolated flash of his ability to turn a game in his team's favour.

 

Pochettino's response to his side's creative shortcomings was to push Marco Verratti further up the pitch after the break, but even the Italy international failed to bring Mauro Icardi and Georginio Wijnaldum, who started up front with Mbappé, into the game.

 

Navas' brilliant stop denied Moussa Dembélé what would have been a 50th Ligue 1 Uber Eats goal for the former Celtic striker (59'), and Dagba then blocked a Aouar shot immediately afterwards with PSG hanging on in a game that was slipping away from them.

 

And then — as they have done so often already this season — the league pacesetters showed why they're out in front, conjuring an equaliser just when it seemed most unlikely they would find the net, and it came from an unlikely source. 

 

Icardi might have levelled if Mbappé had passed to him instead of shot (72'), instead Kehrer did. The Germany international defender fired a bouncing effort over the diving Lopes to claim his first league goal of the season and give youngster Edouard Michut, who had earlier replaced Ander Herrera, the maiden top-flight assist of his career (76'), and leave Lyon in lower mid-table without a win in five league games.

 

THE PLAYER: Keylor Navas

With Gianluigi Donnarumma and Sergio Rico laid low by COVID-19 and Alexandre Letellier out injured, Navas was PSG's only senior goalkeeper available. Once again, the triple UEFA Champions League winner showed why he can — if not win a game all on his own — then at least ensure his side do not lose it, making a number of crucial stops. 

 

THE STAT: 14 & 13

PSG have now scored a league-high 14 goals in the closing 15 minutes of games this season, Lyon have conceded a division-high 13 in the same timeframe.