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Soccer

PSG’s Domination Not Enough to Beat Lille

PSG-Lille

Photo: Courtesy of Paris Saint Germain official Facebook page

Paris Saint Germain was unable to get the best of Lille as the encounter between the two French giants ended in a 2-2 draw this Sunday in Paris. The Parisians remain on top of the table with 44 points while Lille is still only four points behind. With all the chances created, the French champions can genuinely regret not wining this game.

As expected, Edinson Cavani wasn’t available for selection for PSG coach Laurent Blanc. The striker, in Uruguay for personal issues didn’t make it back on time for the last Ligue 1 game of the year. Lucas Moura replaced him as a right-winger in PSG’s 4-3-3 formation. Lucas Digne also deputized at left-back for Maxwell. The rest of the team was unchanged from last week’s victory at Rennes with Salvatore Sirigu in goal, Thiago Silva and Alex in central defense, Gregory Van Der Wiel at right back, Thiago Motta, Marco Verratti, Blaise Matudi in midfield, Ezequiel Lavezzi as a left winger and Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a center-forward.

Lille’s Coach Rene Girard kept his usual 4-3-1-2 formation but had to deal with the absence of Danish center-back Simon Kjaer. Former PSG player David Rozenhal was picked to partner Marco Basa in central defense. Known for their solid defense, Girard’s men started the game defending very deep and tried to hit PSG on the counter attack. The Parisians dominated possession but were unable to beat Lille’s goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. Silva came very close but the Brazilian inexplicably missed the target from five yards.

It’s Ibrahimovic that finally broke the deadlock with a powerful free kick at the 36th minute. Lille’s captain Rio Mavuba equalized eight minutes later for the visitors with a goal totally against the run of play. The French international was at the end of a cross by Salomon Kalou and calmly placed the ball to Sirigu’s left to bring his team leveled right before half time.

Girard’s men would take the lead at the 53rd minute with a penalty converted by Kalou after Franck Beria was brought down in the box by Digne. Down a goal on their home turf only for the second time this season, the Parisians pushed to get an equalizer and were rewarded at the 72nd minute with an own goal by Basa who deflected a corner from Lucas into his own net. Boosted by their equalizer,Blanc’s men pushed for the winner but both Javier Pastore and Jeremy Menez, brought in as substitutes missed the chance to give the three points to the defending champions.

Despite having controlled most of the game, PSG was unable to get all three points tonight in Paris. The Parisians, however remain top of the table but are only three points ahead of Monaco and four ahead of Lille. The title race promises to be exciting this season in France.