Gurtner denies Cavani as PSG and Amiens draw 4-4

Round 25 review: Amiens test PSG as Monaco leap to fifth

Publish on 17/02/2020 at 11h00 - S. WILLIS


PSG's 4-4 trip to Amiens was far tougher than expected just days before their crunch Champions League clash with Dortmund; AS Monaco's 1-0 win over Montpellier - their third in a row - propelled them into fifth place, just three points shy of third.

It is no secret that Paris Saint-Germain's Qatari owners have had their sights set on the UEFA Champions League title since they took over in 2011. How the team fares in Europe's top competition generally dictates the length of any coach's tenure, and with eliminations in the last 16 for the past three seasons, there is plenty of pressure on coach Thomas Tuchel as the clash with his former club Dortmund looms on Tuesday.

Even more so after his heavily rotated line-up - without Neymar or the rested Kylian Mbappé - went three goals down away to relegation-threatened  Amiens on Saturday afternoon. Fit-again captain and stopper Thiago Silva returned to the heart of defence - partnered by 17-year-old Tanguy Kouassi - and was found wanting as Serhou Guirassy, Gaël Kakuta and Fousseni Diabaté all found the net.

Tuchel: 'Why would I be worried?'

The half-time substitutions of Marquinhos for Silva and Marco Verratti for Leandro Paredes did the trick and, notably thanks to a brace of headers from Kouassi, PSG found themselves 4-3 up with just a minute to play. Celebrations? Not quite, as Guirassy chose that moment to hit his second and earn Amiens a share of the points.

"Why would I be worried? Do you think it'll be the same game in Dortmund?" asked Tuchel, whose, side won five and drew one (against Real Madrid) of their UEFA Champions League group-stage matches. "I'm not worried. I trust my players. I know what we did and what we missed. It's human; it's normal. I always try to make sure the team don't lose.

"When you make mistakes, these things can happen because it's Ligue 1 Conforama - it's quality! Now everyone will say 'we are worried, we are worried', but that's football. We had a super-complicated game but I know I can trust my team. I'm not going to lose my mind."

And nor should he. PSG will get to play the all-important second leg of their tie at home in a fortnight's time, and they still sit atop the Ligue 1 Conforama standings with a ten-point buffer between them and second-place Marseille, who claimed an important win away to in-form LOSC on Sunday night.

AVB crows after LOSC win

A Reinildo own-goal and a deft striker's finish from Dario Benedetto - who hadn’t scored since Week 19 - negated Nigeria sensation Victor Osimhen's opener - his 13th of the season - to stretch's OM's unbeaten run to 18 matches in all competitions.

"Congratulations to the whole team," said OM boss André Villas-Boas. "If you don't count PSG's Galacticos, OM are the best team in L1. We just eliminated one more opponent, who's now twelve points behind, with Rennes eleven behind. That's a considerable achievement. But we need to mathematically ensure our place and stay in a position of control. I hope we can do that."

Bakayoko bullish on Monaco's UCL chances

Rennes and LOSC aren't the only sides OM will need to keep an eye on, however, with Monaco currently on a match up the standings. Thanks to Islam Slimani's ninth of the season, Robert Moreno's side notched their third win in a row, 1-0 at home to Montpellier, to jump to fifth, just three points off Rennes in third.

"The aim is to qualify for the Champions League, we've never hidden that. We fell behind a bit, but the season is long with 13 matches still to go," said ASM midfielder Tiémoué Bakayoko, currently in his second spell with the principality club. "There's the real chance that we can meet our objective. "We can't stop now, we're Monaco. We have grand ambitions. I hope everyone will realise there is the possibility to climb the table quickly. We've gotten close to the top places, now we have to stay there and win again next weekend."

Chouiar makes his mark

Monaco's next test will come away to Dijon on Saturday night, and Moreno's back-line will need to be wary of youngster Mounir Chouiar, who hit a spectacular brace to clinch a 2-2 draw in Bordeaux.

"It's a pleasure to help the team win an important point," said Chouiar, 21, after his decisive performance at the MATMUT Atlantique. "I couldn't really miss with the first goal but the second one was a bit special. I sent the defender one way and then shot directly and scored."

Les Crocos on a roll

The point could turn out to be a crucial one as Dijon battle the drop (18th), but 17th-placed Nîmes are making life tough for the Burgundy club because they just keep winning. Indeed, Bernard Blaquart's just made it four wins in row - for the first time in the top flight since 1973! - with a 1-0 triumph over ten-man Angers, victory coming off the bench thanks to new signing Moussa Koné.

After falling victim to Nîmes last week, Nice bounced back into the top half of the table (ninth) with a 2-0 win over nine-man wooden spoon favourites Toulouse, while Reims sit a place higher following their 1-0 win over Rennes, who remain third but with a just a single-point lead over LOSC.

Brest win five-goal thriller

Brest claimed a first victory in four matches with a dramatic 3-2 win over Saint-Etienne, whose arch-rivals Olympique Lyonnais could only manage a 1-1 draw with Strasbourg. FC Nantes and FC Metz played out a 0-0 draw at the Stade de la Beaujoire.