Friday, April 19, 2019

Paris Saint-Germain 2 Strasbourg 2: Tuchel´s side forced to wait to clinch title

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Apr 2019

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Paris Saint-Germain were made to wait to clinch the Ligue 1 title after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Strasbourg in a game that included an astonishing miss by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

Substitute Thilo Kehrer headed in an 82nd-minute equaliser but Strasbourg spoiled the party plans in the French capital, picking up an unexpected point to keep the champions-elect waiting.

After nearest rivals Lille were only able to draw 1-1 at Reims earlier on Sunday, PSG knew three points at the Parc des Princes would see them crowned league winners for a sixth time in seven seasons.

Thomas Tuchel’s side appeared on course to get the job done when Choupo-Moting tapped in Colin Dagba’s low cross to open the scoring in the 13th minute, but Strasbourg had clearly not read the script.

A well-worked move down their left allowed Lionel Carole to square for Nuno da Costa to steer a first-time effort beyond Gianluigi Buffon.

There was nothing the returning PSG goalkeeper could do to stop the visitors taking the lead before the break either, Anthony Goncalves latching onto a weak clearance to flash a thunderous right-footed drive in from distance.

Sandwiched in between Strasbourg’s two goals was a scarcely believable blooper from Choupo-Moting, the forward inexplicably stopping team-mate Christopher Nkunku’s chip over goalkeeper Matz Sels on the line with his left foot just as the ball was about to roll into the net.

Kylian Mbappe was summoned from the bench early in the second half by Tuchel but it was another replacement in Kehrer who levelled the score, turning in Julian Draxler’s corner from the right.

What does it mean? PSG lack strength in depth

In his pre-match press conference on Saturday, Tuchel suggested he would like to add three or four players to his squad for next season, when the club will no doubt once again have lofty expectations of Champions League success.

There could be big-name departures in the next transfer window, yet this result once again highlighted the need for a better supporting cast to go alongside the superstar names.

The shopping list should include an upgrade on Choupo-Moting, who will surely forever be remembered at PSG – and perhaps for his entire career – for his error. The watching Edinson Cavani – who is back in training – cannot come back soon enough.

Verratti the pass master again

With so many leading names absent – as well as Cavani, Neymar and Angel Di Maria were also in the crowd watching on – Marco Verratti provided a much-needed touch of class for the home team.

The Italian midfielder had 146 total touches in the contest, while it was his superb throughball that set Dagba clear in behind Strasbourg’s defence to tee up Choupo-Moting’s opener.

Choupo-Moting’s moment to forget

The former Stoke City frontman turned from hero to villain when his unnecessary intervention stopped Nkunku making it 2-1 to PSG.

Choupo-Moting had just 22 touches and it was hardly surprising to see Tuchel replace him with Mbappe – who made a difference during his cameo appearance – on the hour.

What’s next?

PSG will have another opportunity to cross the line when they travel to second-placed Lille, while Strasbourg host Guingamp in a repeat of the recent Coupe de la Ligue final.

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