PSG left frustrated as Monaco peg them back

The so-called battle of the billionaires ended in stalemate with Monaco recovering from early setback to hold PSG to a 1-1 draw in Paris on Sunday. Monaco's Radamel Falcao cancelled out Zlatan Ibrahimovic's early goal to keep his team top of Ligue 1.

PSG left frustrated as Monaco peg them back
PSG striker Cavani is left frustrated as PSG are held at home to Monaco. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

Monaco came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with defending French champions Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday to keep hold of top spot in Ligue 1.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic volleyed PSG into an early lead in the French capital, but Monaco's 60-million-euro striker Radamel Falcao bundled in an equaliser for the visitors as the first clash between the league's two financial
heavyweights finished level.

The draw kept Monaco in first place on 14 points, two ahead of PSG, who moved into second, ahead of Saint-Etienne on goal difference.

"It was a good match. Paris played well but so did we," said Monaco boss Claudio Ranieri.

"We tried to win right up until the end and I'm very satisfied. I have no regrets

"I know that Paris have a lot of quality and more experience than our players, so I'm happy," the Italian continued.

PSG coach Laurent Blanc made one change to the side that beat Olympiakos 4-1 midweek in the Champions League with Argentine winger Ezequiel Lavezzi replacing Lucas Moura on the left side of an attacking trio.

Ranieri, meanwhile, kept faith with the team that beat Lorient 1-0 last weekend as Mounir Obbadi continued alongside Geoffrey Kondogbia in central midfield with Jeremy Toulalan still out injured.

Ibrahimovic had endured a slow start to the season with just one goal prior to Sunday, but last year's leading scorer made an immediate impact at the Parc des Princes as he gave PSG a fifth-minute lead.

Thiago Silva's raking downfield ball picked out the run of left-back Maxwell who crossed for Ibrahimovic to volley past Danijel Subasic from close range.

The hosts were dealt a blow on the quarter-hour, though, as Silva limped off with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Zoumana Camara.

Falcao then hauled Monaco level on 20 minutes as he threw himself at Joao Moutinho's teasing cross into the box, the Colombian bravely putting his body on the line to head beyond Salvatore Sirigu.

Monaco's Yannick Ferreira Carrasco fired just over on the volley shortly after, while Edinson Cavani dragged a shot wide of the far post after clever interplay between himself and Ibrahimovic.

The Swede then wasted a glorious chance to add to his tally and restore PSG's advantage as he headed over after being left completely unmarked as Lavezzi swung in a dangerous free-kick.

And Ibrahimovic was again guilty of botching another opening just moments later.

Played through by Marco Verratti, the striker elected to cut back onto his right foot and, rather than shooting, over hit a chip towards the far post as he tried to pick out an advancing Lavezzi.

There was further frustration for Ibrahimovic after the interval as he flicked a low cross from Lavezzi the wrong side of the post.

Ferreira Carrasco volleyed wide when well placed, while substitute James Rodriguez and Layvin Kurzawa took turns to test Sirigu from distance but the contest began to peter out as the second half wore on.

However, Cavani twice very nearly snatched all three points for PSG in stoppage time.

The Uruguayan was firstly denied by a fantastic sliding intervention from Andrea Raggi after he chested down Blaise Matuidi's lofted pass and shot on the turn before he sent a header narrowly wide of the near post as Monaco withstood a late threat.

"We played a very good match, unfortunately we weren't able to get that decisive goal," said PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi.

"We put them in difficulty, we had the chances but we failed to take them. We can be happy with the performance we produced, (it was) one of the best of the season."

Earlier, Lyon halted a run of six matches without a victory as they beat promoted Nantes 3-1.

Nice climbed to fifth after thumping lowly Valenciennes 4-0 to mark the inauguration of their new Allianz Riviera stadium in style, while Lorient fought back from two goals down at home to draw 3-3 with Bordeaux.


Lorient 3 (Aboubakar 23, Monnet-Paquet 44, S. Diallo 58) Bordeaux 3 (Diabate 8-pen, Sertic 24, Saivet 30)
Lyon 3 (B. Gomis 26, Grenier 55, Briand 72) Nantes 1 (Veretout 24)
Nice 4 (Cvitanich 32-pen, Bautheac 44, Bruls 69, Bosetti 73) Valenciennes 0
Paris Saint-Germain 1 (Ibrahimovic 5) Monaco 1 (Falcao 20)


Bastia 0 Marseille 0
Evian 2 (Wass 74, Sougou 77) Montpellier 2 (Montano 37, Cabella 52)
Reims 1 (Deroussel de Preville 58) Guingamp 1 (Weber 5-og)
Rennes 2 (Kadir 13, 16) Ajaccio 0
Sochaux 0 Lille 2 (Roux 35, 37)


Saint-Etienne 1 (Hamouna 18) Toulouse 2 (Braithwaite 63, Sylla 75)

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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.”