Hoarau saves PSG in match of season
By D. Crossan
Guillaume Hoarau salvaged a 4-4 draw for Paris Saint-Germain at Olympique Lyonnais in Ligue 1's match of the season with a 94th-minute equalizer. Nevertheless, PSG slipped from top spot for the first time since Week 18 after a third straight draw.
PSG are still yet to lose under new coach Carlo Ancelotti yet now find themselves a point behind Montpellier, 1-0 winners over Bordeaux earlier in the evening. Chasing a first French title since 1994, the situation could have been even worse but for a late, late Hoarau goal, just as he provided in the 2-2 draw at home to Montpellier last Sunday.
Hoarau was handed a first start at centre-forward of the Ancelotti era and Javier Pastore also featured in the starting eleven after his cameo off the bench against Montpellier following his recovery from a thigh injury.
Hoarau opener, Gomis equaliser
There had already been chances at both ends before Hoarau opened the scoring in the 21st minute, sidefooting past Hugo Lloris after a Jérémy Ménez free-kick. At that stage Lyon must have been fearing a third successive Ligue 1 loss to further dampen their hopes of finishing in the top three, as they have done every season since 1997-1998.
Bafétimbi Gomis had a couple of chances before equalizing in the 34th minute, volleying past Salvatore Sirigu from a Kim Källström cross for his tenth league goal of the season. Two minutes later Lisandro Lopez, Gomis' strike partner in Rémi Garde's ambitious 4-4-2 formation, fired Lyon in front with a finish with the outside of his right boot that beat Sirigu at his near post. Michel Bastos provided the assist as the game took another twist.
OL twice two goals up
Incredibly, Lyon added a third before half-time through the Brazilian Bastos, who netted with a fantastic half-volley to send the Stade Municipal de Gerland wild. PSG, the best defence in Ligue 1, had conceded three times in the space of six frenetic first-half minutes.
There was a further twist before the half-time whistle as, in the third minute of stoppage time, Nene scored from the penalty spot - his seventh successful spot-kick of the season and his first of his 12 goals this season scored away from the Parc des Princes. The Brazilian converted afer being felled by Maxime Gonalons right on the edge of the area.
These sides will meet again in Paris in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France next month and if the game is as entertaining as this one then the Parc des Princes crowd are in for an astounding evening. Twelve minutes after the restart OL went 4-2 up as a Bastos corner found Jimmy Briand, who beat Mohamed Sissoko to the ball and headed beyond Sirigu, who had only conceded more than two goals in the 3-0 humbling at Marseille prior to this fixture.
In the 73rd minute PSG gave themselves renewed hope as Hoarau cut the ball back and full-back Marcos Ceara beat Lloris' outstretched hand. The Brazilian Ceara had his first goal in the league this campaign.
PSG pressed for an equalizer and Lloris' goal came under siege. The French international keeper produced a miraculous stop to tip over a Nene effort. Soon after Lloris saved from a Thiago Motta header and PSG sub Mathieu Bodmer could not find the back of the net with the goal at his mercy from the rebound.
Fellow sub Kevin Gameiro, on for Pastore on the hour, shot narrowly over and skipper Mamadou Sakho headed wide before Hoarau came up with the goods for the second game running. Making his first start of a shoulder-operation disrupted season since the opening game loss to Lorient, Hoarau staked a claim to retain the faith of Ancelotti with a stunning late header for his second goal of the game and his third of the season.
In the cold light of day Ancelotti will look at the Ligue 1 table, which now shows PSG in second position, a point behind Montpellier. OL are provisionally in fifth place, but fully five points behind third-placed Lille, who are in action at Rennes on Sunday evening.