Ligue 1 round-up: Cavani saves PSG’s blushes

Big spenders PSG had to rely on their record signing Edinson Cavani to earn them a late draw lowly Ajaccio in Paris on Sunday. After two matches PSG already stand four points adrift of their rivals Monaco, Marseille and Lyon.

Ligue 1 round-up: Cavani saves PSG's blushes
Cavani spares PSG from a humiliating defeat. Photo: Franck Pennant/AFP

Edinson Cavani, the French league's most expensive player of all time, saved Paris Saint Germain from a humiliating defeat with a late goal on his debut to snatch a 1-1 draw against Ajaccio on

Laurent Blanc was handing a first start to Cavani, who joined PSG from Napoli for 64-million-euro ($85 million) — the 26-year-old Uruguayan lining up in a dream strike partnership with Swedish hotshot Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Yet it was modest Ajaccio who took control with their first attack when Benoit Pedretti curled the ball in to the far corner from outside the box on nine minutes.

Ajaccio then had to dig deep as PSG went on the attack, but the Corsican visitors held firm until Cavani levelled with just four minutes left on the clock.

The new arrival sent the Parc des Princes fans wild when running onto Hervin Ongenda's pass, and firing into the top corner.

"I am not going to make the same excuses, but we did not have the same energy as our opponents," said Blanc, whose side have drawn their first two games.

"We are disappointed and frustrated. We will have a full week's work because, yet again, we weren't ready."

Emmanuel Riviere stole his Colombian teammate Radamel Falcao's thunder as his hat-trick carried Monaco into joint top spot with a 4-1 thrashing of Montpellier.

Monaco had followed up their opening day's 2-0 victory over Bordeaux to move up to six points alongside Lyon, Saint-Etienne and Marseille and second on goal difference.

Manager Claudio Ranieri was more than pleased with his expensively assembled side's showing.

"At the moment, it's perfect, two matches, six points," said the Italian.

"I'm satisfied, it's important to win but also to play well and I'm happy about that. As for Riviere, well he trains every day with character and professionalism and he's in good shape physically and mentally," added Ranieri.

The former Premier League and Serie A coach dismissed reports of Falcao making a move to Spain or England.

"They are just rumours, always rumours and just to make up stories. Falcao is staying here, he's happy and his daughter was born here," he said in reference to the birth of the Colombian's newborn daughter during the week.

Monaco took the lead on 18 minutes when Argentine Lucas Ocampos took off on a weaving run before being hacked down in the box by Siaka Tiene, leaving the referee little option but to point to the spot.

Falcao stepped up and sent Montpellier goalkeeper Laurent Pionnier the wrong way as he made it two goals from two matches since his reported 60 million euro ($80 million) transfer from Atletico Madrid.

The lead lasted just six minutes when a second Colombian, this time Victor Hugo Montano, got the better of defenders Ricardo Carvalho and Eric Abidal before powering home a header from a fine cross from Benjamin Stambouli on the right wing.

The 2004 Champions League finalists then went back in front in controversial fashion on the stroke of half-time when Riviere clearly tugged Montpellier defender Daniel Congre on his way into the box before chipping the ball over the on rushing Pionnier.

Riviere then gave Ranieri's men a cushion 12 minutes after the break when he kneed the ball home following a corner from Yannick Ferreira Carrasco before the 2012 champions had Congre sent off on 63 minutes.

Riviere completed his hat-trick with nine minutes left.

It was his seventh goal in seven matches for the 23-year-old when playing against Montpellier in Ligue 1.

French Ligue 1 results: 

Monaco 4 (Falcao 18-pen, Riviere 44, 57, 81) Montpellier 1 (Montano 24)

Lorient 2 (Aboubakar 39, Aliadiere 61) Nantes 1 (Veigneau 17)

Paris Saint Germain  1 (Cavani) Ajaccio 1 (Pedretti)

Sochaux 1 (Boudebouz 4-pen) Lyon 3 (Benzia 35, Lacazette 43, Gourcuff 48)

Marseille 2 (Gignac 16, Payet 67) Evian/Thonon 0

Bastia 2 (Bruno 76, Ba 79) Valenciennes 0

Nice 2 (Cvitanich 20, Pied 51) Rennes 1 (Nelson Oliveira 45+3)

Reims 2 (Albæk 7, Glombard 67) Lille 1 (Basa 88)

Saint-Etienne 1 (Lemoine 52) Guingamp 0

Toulouse 1 (Eden Ben Basat 45) Bordeaux 1 (Diabaté 43)

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‘Not football’s job’ to combat homophobia: French football chief

The head of French football has pulled away from a hardline stance against homophobic chanting and banners in stadiums on Friday, saying that "too many matches" have been stopped due to anti-gay abuse.

'Not football's job' to combat homophobia: French football chief

Noel Le Graet, president of the French Football Federation (FFF), said that the FFF would not instruct referees to stop matches except in cases when a “whole stadium” was guilty of homophobic chanting.

“I think we're stopping too many matches! That makes certain government ministers happy, but it bothers me. Football can't be taken hostage by vulgarity,” said Le Graet in an interview with newspaper Ouest-France.

Several matches have been temporarily halted in France this season after the French football League (LFP) introduced over the summer plans to tackle fan homophobia during matches, including allowing referees to stop games.

“Matches have been stopped when they shouldn't have been,” Le Graet continued.

“We will stop them if there is consistent homophobic abuse from the whole ground, but if among 30,000 people there are 2,000 imbeciles I don't see why the other 28,000 should be punished.”

Le Graet referred to France's sports minister Roxana Maracineanu, who in April launched the appeal for matches to be stopped in the event of homophobic abuse, and equalities minister Marlene Schiappa.

Schiappa publicly praised referee Clement Turpin after he stopped Marseille's 2-1 win at Nice for over 10 minutes last month following sustained abusive chanting and banners from home fans, but Le Graet insisted that it wasn't football's job to combat homophobia.

Paris Saint-Germain's match at Metz two days later was also briefly halted for a banner unfurled by the hosts' supporters asking the French league (LFP) to allow them to aim homophobic chants at PSG.

“Did football invent homophobia? You can be a know-it-all when you have got much to say. But there are more important political issues,” he said.

“This crisis will resolve itself. We will work with club presidents, people who don't stick their oar in every morning, who don't want to just look good in front of the television cameras.”