Paris: Paris Saint-Germain could not crack the tightest defense in the French league, drawing 0-0 with defending champion Lille in a physical match on Sunday.
A point was enough for PSG to draw level with leader Montpellier on 37 points. Montpellier leads the standings on goal difference, with Lille and Lyon two points back.
In a match between two committed sides, PSG created the first chance in the 20th minute against a Lille side that has leaked only 15 goals in the league this season.
Surrounded by three defenders, Argentine playmaker Javier Pastore found Kevin Gameiro with a side-footed pass over the top. Gameiro chested the ball down but shot wide from 15 yards.
“In the first half, there were a lot of knocks and fouls. It was very tactical,” Lille midfielder Eden Hazard told Canal Plus television. “In the second half, the two teams played more freely. There were more chances.”
PSG kept Lille under pressure in the second half.
Pastore collected a through ball from midfielder Mathieu Bodmer in the 48th only to miss the target from the edge of the box.
PSG winger Jeremy Menez then fed Nene, who fired over the bar instead of slipping the ball to an unmarked Gameiro to his right.
“The idea was to wait for them and hit them on the fast break,” PSG coach Antoine Kombouare said. “But we missed the finishing touch.”
Lille finished strongly as PSG began to tire.
Mathieu Debuchy headed a corner from Eden Hazard in the 59th, but PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu punched away the fullback’s close-range effort.
Sirigu made another save in the 77th, tipping over the bar a powerful drive from Lille midfielder Idrissa Gueye.
The Italian goalkeeper preserved his team’s point in stoppage time by palming away a curling shot from Lille substitute Ireneusz Jelen.
“Maybe we deserved to win in the second half,” Lille midfielder Florent Balmont said. “It’s a good point for us. We didn’t want to lose. We wanted to extend our unbeaten run.”
Lille stretched its unbeaten streak in the league to 16 games.
Meanwhile, Bordeaux beat Sochaux 1-0 to climb to ninth place after a poor start to the season.
Bordeaux defender Ludovic Sane played a one-two with Yoan Gouffran to fire home a low strike in the 22nd minute.
“We would have lost that match a month ago,” Bordeaux coach Francis Gillot said. “That means there’s more solidarity and that we are pulling for each other.”
Fullback Fousseni Diawara scored from close range in the 83rd to boost struggling Ajaccio with a 1-0 home win over Rennes.
“We were bad and deserved to lose,” Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti told the club’s website. “There’s no excuse.”