Published On: Mon, Apr 8th, 2019

PSG miss chance to wrap up French title

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The defending champions could have secured the Ligue 1 crown with still 8 games to spare

Published 11:01 AM, April 08, 2019

Updated 11:01 AM, April 08, 2019

KINGS OF FRANCE. Kylian Mbappe and Paris Saint-Germain shoot for their eighth Ligue 1 championship. Photo from PSG's Twitter account (@PSG_English)

KINGS OF FRANCE. Kylian Mbappe and Paris Saint-Germain shoot for their eighth Ligue 1 championship. Photo from PSG’s Twitter account (@PSG_English)

PARIS, France – Paris Saint-Germain squandered the chance to clinch the Ligue 1 title in record-equalling time after being held to a 2-2 draw at home by Strasbourg on Sunday, April 7 (Monday, April 8, Philippine time).

PSG were handed the opportunity to win their sixth French crown in 7 seasons after second-placed Lille drew 1-1 at Reims earlier.

That left Thomas Tuchel’s side knowing that 3 points at the Parc des Princes would see them retain the title and wrap it up with 8 games to spare, matching the speed with which Laurent Blanc’s team became champions in 2016.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting gave them an early lead, and it looked as though the home side would get the job done despite Kylian Mbappe being left on the bench at kick-off and Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria all missing out due to injury.

However, Strasbourg came into this game fresh from winning the League Cup last weekend and they fought back to lead before halftime with Nuno Da Costa turning in a Lionel Carole cross to equalize and Anthony Goncalves lashing home from 22 yards to make it 2-1 in the 36th minute.

Mbappe came off the bench on the hour mark but it was another substitute who made it 2-2 with 8 minutes remaining. Julian Draxler sent in a corner from the right and Germany defender Thilo Kehrer headed home.

However, having drawn at home to PSG back in December, mid-table Strasbourg then held on for a point.

A huge 20 points clear at the summit and with a game in hand, PSG will now hope to secure the eighth league title in their history when they go to Lille next weekend.

Choupo-Moting shocker

A point will be enough in that game, but PSG should have finished the job here – Choupo-Moting somehow managed to turn a net-bound Christopher Nkunku shot onto the post in the first half in one of the worst misses you are ever likely to see, and Dani Alves hit the bar after the break.

Earlier, Jose Fonte’s 56th-minute header had Lille on course to take all 3 points away to Reims in Champagne country, but substitute Remi Oudin’s 78th minute leveller –initially ruled out for offside but then given after a VAR review – denied the visitors.

Reims were also left furious at the referee’s decision to ignore a handball in the box by Lille defender Adama Soumaoro in stoppage time as the home side appealed for a penalty.

Lille are more concerned with holding off the teams below them as they look to secure 2nd place, which provides automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League group stage.

The draw at the Stade Auguste-Delaune moved them 5 points clear of third-placed Lyon, who slumped to a shock 3-1 loss at home to relegation-threatened Dijon on Saturday.

“If we had won I think we would have sealed our place on the podium,” said Lille coach Christophe Galtier.

“We are 11 points ahead of Saint-Etienne but there are still 21 points to play for.”

Fourth-placed Saint-Etienne drew 2-2 at Amiens on Saturday, while Marseille, at 5th, were beaten 2-0 at Bordeaux on Friday. Reims are just a point behind OM at 6th. – Rappler.com

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