UEFA Champions League: PSG made to wait by obstinate Anderlecht
Paris: Paris Saint-Germain will have to wait to seal their place in the last 16 of the Champions League after being held to a 1-1 draw by Anderlecht on Tuesday.
On a frustrating night at the Parc des Princes, PSG had most of the possession and no shortage of chances, but they fell behind to a Demy De Zeeuw goal midway through the second half and needed a Zlatan Ibrahimovic strike moments later just to earn them a point against a visiting side that had Sacha Kljestan sent off late on.
The nature of this encounter in the French capital contrasted starkly with the last meeting of the clubs in Brussels two weeks ago, when PSG recorded their biggest ever away victory in continental competition, trouncing Anderlecht 5-0.
Laurent Blanc`s men might have clinched top spot in the section with two games to spare in the event of a win, but instead they will need a draw at home to Olympiakos later this month to be sure of their last-16 berth.
Anderlecht, meanwhile, will be pleased to have recovered some pride and registered their first point of the campaign.
Blanc was without Edinson Cavani due to a thigh injury, but he was able to welcome back Ibrahimovic after a nagging knee problem forced him to miss last Friday`s 4-0 demolition of Lorient in Ligue 1, as skipper Thiago Silva started on the bench on his return to the squad after over a month on the sidelines.
The Belgian champions had hinted that they would settle for any kind of improvement on the thrashing they suffered in the last meeting of the clubs, and they predictably adopted a cautious approach in an attempt to frustrate their hosts this time.
It worked in the first half, with PSG unable to break down a defence comprising six men when the home side had possession, and early efforts from Ezequiel Lavezzi and Ibrahimovic that both missed the target were as close as they came in the opening period.
Having initially been prepared to utilise Dennis Praet, their most likely creative spark, as an auxiliary right-back, Anderlecht slowly grew into the contest and their teenage Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic flashed a shot just over Salvatore Sirigu`s goal.
PSG fans that have become used to seeing much better from their team greeted the half-time whistle with jeers, but there was worse to come after the restart.
Ibrahimovic headed just wide from a Thiago Motta corner before teeing up Lucas to volley wastefully off target from an excellent position, and instead it was the visitors who drew first blood in the 68th minute to the disbelief of the entire stadium.
Praet found Kljestan on the edge of the box to the left, and the American midfielder cut the ball back for Dutchman De Zeeuw, who beat Sirigu with a low first-time effort to finally break his team`s goalscoring duck in this season`s competition.
But they say a team is at its most vulnerable just after they have scored a goal, and that proved to be the case on this occasion as PSG needed just two minutes to draw level, Blaise Matuidi finding Ibrahimovic, and the Swede poking the ball over the line after his initial effort had hit the post to make it five in two games against Anderlecht.
Blanc`s side poured forward in search of the goal that would have won them the game and taken them through to the last 16, but they couldn`t find it, even after the energetic Kljestan had been sent off for a second yellow card for handling nine minutes from the end.