PSG denied by late Rennes strike
By S. Willis
Kévin Gameiro's 73rd-minute strike had PSG on the brink of their first win of the season but new Rennes recruit Jonathan Pitroïpa struck with a minute left to salvage a deserved 1-1 draw for the Breton hosts on Saturday night.
After losing 1-0 to Lorient on the opening day of the season, the star-studded PSG squad was under pressure to get a result away to Rennes - and Antoine Kombouaré's new-look side didn't disappoint in the exciting 1-1 draw.
Despite having Christophe Jallet - who started in midfield in place of the injured Nene - and captain Mamadou Sakho taken off due to injury, PSG dominated possession and produced the better attacking moves in the first half.
Sirigu on song
However, Rennes' trademark defensive solidity stymied the improving Parisian attack, and it was Frédéric Antonetti's men who carved out the biggest chances of the half, Julien Féret going close to scoring his third in as many matches (15') but firing wide when one on one with Salvatore Sirigu.
The newly signed Italian 'keeper was in decisive form, showing his determination to edge out Nicolas Douchez for the Parisian number one shirt as he went on to deny Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik (26') and, seconds later, Abdoulrazak Boukari with strong saves.
Sirigu remained imperious - and impermeable - between the sticks into the second half, stopping a Kana-Biyik header on the line (55') before leaving Jonathan Pitroïpa empty-handed despite an impressive mazing run and shot from the edge of the area (56').
Promising signs for PSG
The match turned in PSG's favour, however, after Guillaume Hoarau was subbed on for the injured Jallet early in the second term, the France international combining well with Les Bleus teammate Kévin Gameiro before seeing his goal-bound shot cleared by the trailing foot of Rennes 'keeper Benoît Costil (59').
Sirigu wasn't the only one of PSG's new recruits to shine, and doubtless Kombouaré and PSG sporting director Leonardo would have been thrilled to see three new faces - all France internationals - combine to bag the Parisians' first goal of the season.
Ex-Saint-Etienne midfielder Blaise Matuidi began the move, bursting out of midfield before playing Jérémy Ménez into space on the left. The pacy wide man didn't hesitate in squaring the ball first time for Gameiro, whose keen positional sense saw him in just the right spot to rifle a side-footed shot past Costil to make the break (73').
It was no less than PSG deserved but Rennes - who, with a 5-1 opening-day win over Dijon are hoping they have put last season's goal drought behind them - weren't finished, and with just two minutes to go, the excellent Pitroïpa made the men from the capital pay for a momentary lapse in concentration as he ghosted in at the far post to nod home Stéphane Dalmat's cross from close range (88') and secure a deserved point.