Battling Sochaux postpone PSG title party
Paris: Paris Saint-Germain`s hopes of wrapping up the Ligue 1 title for a second successive season on Sunday were dashed as they were held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Sochaux.
Edinson Cavani put PSG in front in the first half, but a second-half Thiago Silva own goal earned Sochaux a share of the spoils and left Laurent Blanc`s side eight points clear of nearest challengers Monaco with three games remaining.
They will now have to wait until hosting Rennes on Wednesday, May 7 for another chance to wrap up the title.
Sochaux, meanwhile, are four points adrift of safety but two of their last three games are against fellow relegation candidates Rennes and Evian.
Blanc will be concerned at how PSG looked comfortable in the first half but then played largely second fiddle to Sochaux in the second period.
"Sochaux played really well and deserved the point," he admitted to beIN Sports after the game.
"In all honesty we probably didn`t deserve to take the three points today. Some people assume we have won the title but we still have a little left to do so we have to go out and do it."
Sochaux coach Herve Renard, whose side have now won five and drawn two of their last seven games at their own Stade Bonal, said: "The result is satisfying. The shame is that we didn`t play in the first half as we did in the second, because if we had done we could have won the match."
Cavani had an early sight of goal and the Uruguayan produced a superb right-footed shot from the edge of the area in the 20th minute which Yohann Pele had to be at full stretch to tip over.
Lucas then went even closer from the resulting corner as the Brazilian`s header was hacked off the line by a Sochaux defender.However, four minutes later PSG were ahead as Cavani made no mistake, chesting down a superb long ball from Thiago Motta and then volleying it past Pele for his 16th league goal of the season.
The hosts came close to levelling in time added on at the end of the first period as Jordan Ayew`s clever lay-off found Sebastien Roudet who managed to get between Motta and Silva only for Salvatore Sirigu to save with his legs.
Sochaux also protested furiously for a penalty as a shot on goal hit Cavani`s arm in the penalty area but the referee waved away the appeals.
However, the hosts deservedly drew level in the 56th minute, with on-loan Marseille forward Ayew again heavily involved.
Sirigu beat away Sebastien Corchia`s shot from the right but it came back to Ayew out on the left. The Ghanaian international`s deft backheel released Florian Marange and his cross was met by the PSG goalkeeper`s fist only for the ball to rebound off Silva and trickle into the net.
It was not the first own goal scored by Silva this season, as the Brazilian also put through his own net in the 1-1 draw with Monaco in February.
Sochaux`s Bosnian midfielder Sanjin Prcic came more into the match and had two good efforts from outside the area which went just wide of the PSG goal while Lucas shaved the post with a right-footed effort for the visitors.
PSG`s Italian midfielder Marco Verratti was then denied when left with just Pele to beat, before substitute Cedric Bakambu somehow failed to get a touch to an Ayew cross at the other end.
Cavani should have made Sochaux pay for that miss when he was well set up by Lucas but his shot was wild and high and left Blanc biting his fingers in frustration.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Lyon beat Bastia 4-1 at the Stade de Gerland to close in on European qualification, with Bafetimbi Gomis, Nabil Fekir, Bakary Kone and Alexandre Lacazette getting their goals.
OL remain fifth and sit five points clear of Marseille, who they face next Sunday. Victory in that game will guarantee a place in the Europa League for Remi Garde`s men. Sunday`s late game sees Lille, in third, host Bordeaux.
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