Monday, March 27, 2017

Reims 1 Paris Saint-Germain 1: Cavani rescues wasteful leaders

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 19 Sep 2015

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Edinson Cavani came off the bench to rescue a point for Paris Saint-Germain as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Reims in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

The defending champions looked set to lose their 14-game unbeaten record in the league when Theoson Siebatcheu put Reims ahead with seven minutes remaining.

Cavani had other ideas, though, as he met Javier Pastore’s pinpoint pass to drag Laurent Blanc’s side level a minute later.

Pastore thought he had put PSG ahead early on with a well-placed header, only for the the offside flag to cut his celebrations short.

Chances were at a premium for both sides and – after surviving a period of pressure from Reims – PSG returned to their offensive ways with Zlatan Ibrahimovic proving profligate after the break.

Siebatcheu’s strike looked to have punished those misses until Cavani popped up and left the visitors relieved to take a point.

A lively start from the league leaders saw Layvin Kurzawa call Kossi Agassa into action after seven minutes, but the defender was unable to get enough power behind his header.

PSG’s pressure continued unabated and the visitors thought they had taken the lead after 15 minutes when Pastore converted Kurzawa’s tantalising delivery from the left, however the assistant referee’s flag denied the Argentinian an opener.

Reims – who had been limited to fleeting breaks on the counter attack – were forced into an early change midway through the half as Agassa’s day ended prematurely, the goalkeeper replaced by Johny Placide after suffering a hamstring injury.

Blanc’s men continued to dominate possession but found it difficult to break down the packed Reims defence, and they were nearly caught out in the closing minutes as Nicolas de Preville saw a volley clip Kevin Trapp’s right-hand post.

A right-wing corner just before the hour brought the best opening of the second half for the defending champions as Marquinhos rose highest, but he was left frustrated as Placide and Hamari Traore combined to clear off the line.

Marco Verratti was next in line with a pile-driver from distance which Placide parried into the path of Ibrahimovic but the Sweden international inexplicably nodded wide with the goal gaping.

Desperate for a breakthrough, Blanc introduced Cavani and Angel di Maria to the fray, however it was Reims substitute Siebatcheu who broke the deadlock by sweeping home amid poor PSG defending.

Their advantage lasted less than a minute, though, as Cavani levelled with a smart finish from his first chance of the game, rescuing a point and keeping PSG clear at the top.

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