Friday, January 28, 2022

Lens 1-1 Paris Saint-Germain: Wijnaldum salvages a point after Navas howler

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 Dec 2021

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Georginio Wijnaldum scored in stoppage time to salvage a 1-1 draw for a below-par Paris Saint-Germain against Lens at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Saturday.

After Lionel Messi hit the post, Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Nice on Wednesday, looked like they were on their way to a second Ligue 1 defeat of the season when Keylor Navas dropped Seko Fofana’s effort into his own net after 62 minutes. 

Wijnaldum – introduced in the 70th minute for Leandro Paredes – headed home fellow substitute Kylian Mbappe’s left-wing cross two minutes into added time to secure a point for the leaders, though.

The result meant PSG moved 13 points clear of second-placed Marseille, who have a game in hand, while Lens remain in fifth.

Messi struck Jean-Louis Leca’s left-hand post from 22 yards in the 18th minute, before Navas kept out Jonathan Clauss and Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga at the other end.

The PSG goalkeeper was called into action again on the half-hour mark, this time repelling Cheick Oumar Doucoure’s powerful volley.

PSG pushed hard for a breakthrough before half-time, with Mauro Icardi denied on three occasions by an inspired Leca.

The hosts went ahead when Navas inexplicably let Fofana’s 30-yard strike slip through his grasp for the midfielder’s fifth league goal of the campaign. 

Lens went agonisingly close to doubling their advantage soon after when David Pereira Da Costa’s shot was deflected onto the post by Danilo Pereira.

Mbappe headed straight at Leca moments after his introduction, and the France international whipped in a superb cross in stoppage time that Wijnaldum duly nodded home to secure a dramatic point.

What does it mean? Poor PSG leave it late

Given Lens had 18 shots to their 13, PSG could not have had too many complaints had they returned to the French capital with nothing.

While they did manage to seal a late point, they have now gone two consecutive Ligue 1 games without a win for the first time since Pochettino took over in January.

Fofana shines

There was more than a stroke of good fortune about his goal, but it was no less than Fofana deserved for a colossal performance at the heart of Lens’ midfield. He had a joint team-high three shots – two of which were on target – and made four key passes, which was more than anyone else on the pitch.

Icardi wastes rare start

With Neymar out injured Icardi failed to persuade Pochettino that he should be given a regular starting berth, squandering a host of chances before the interval. It was little surprise to see him taken off after 70 minutes for Mbappe, who made an immediate impact.

What’s next?

PSG, whose place in the Champions League knockout stages has already been secured, take on Club Brugge in their final Group A game on Tuesday, before hosting Monaco in Ligue 1 next weekend. Lens, meanwhile, travel to Nantes on Friday in the league.

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