Strasbourg 1 Paris Saint-Germain 1: Champions falter again
Leaders Paris Saint-Germain dropped points again in Ligue 1 as penalties at either end resulted in a 1-1 draw at Strasbourg.
Thomas Tuchel's men had conceded late to draw against Bordeaux at the weekend, but it was the champions who had to come from behind to earn a share of the spoils at the Stade de la Meinau on Wednesday.
PSG were blunt in the first half and trailed to Kenny Lala's spot-kick after Thilo Kehrer was adjudged to have handled, but the Strasbourg hero turned villain with a wild swipe at inspirational substitute Kylian Mbappe that saw Edinson Cavani level with a penalty of his own.
There was late drama when Adrien Thomasson thought he had won it with a header for the hosts in stoppage time, only to be flagged offside.
Back-to-back draws represent the first minor wobble of Tuchel's Ligue 1 career and, given how PSG missed the injured Neymar and rested Mbappe before the break, the coach will hope to have both fit and firing swiftly.
PSG, some 14 points clear at the top of the table, made a slow start, threatening only occasionally from crosses into a physical forward pairing, before the champions fell behind in controversial fashion five minutes before half-time.
Referee Antony Gautier was instructed by the VAR to consult the replay after Kehrer blocked a cross, with the official deciding following a lengthy delay that the ball struck the defender's arm - and not his chest - in the area. Lala stroked home the consequent penalty.
Mbappe was introduced at the break and his wonderful cross picked out Kehrer unmarked in front of goal, only for Matz Sels to make a superb instinctive stop.
Cavani was denied by an offside flag and then curled a free-kick just over, but he was on the scoresheet when Lala foolishly clattered into Mbappe.
However, PSG could not force a winner, with Sels saving again from Kehrer and then from Eric Choupo-Moting, and Strasbourg would have stolen the points but for a late Alphonse Areola stop to keep out Thomasson.
And Thomasson came closer still in stoppage time, with an offside flag ruling out his close-range header.
What does it mean? Too reliant on Mbappe and Neymar
PSG were uninspiring when Mbappe and Neymar were missing against Toulouse, before slipping to a draw last time out after the Brazilian's withdrawal. They then offered nothing in attack until Mbappe's introduction in this game. It is key Tuchel keeps his two stars fit.
Mbappe lifts PSG
PSG looked a very different proposition with Mbappe on the pitch. He created a golden opportunity for Kehrer and would have had a hand in a Cavani goal had the offside flag not gone up. Sporting bleached hair for the first time, he needed no help to stand out.
Hiding something under your hat perhaps @KMbappe...?
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) December 5, 2018
Kehrer lacking care
The penalty decision was slightly unfortunate in that the ball appeared to strike Kehrer's chest and then his arm, but the defender had opportunities to make amends. He three times miscued headers in the area, with two efforts from point-blank range wastefully aimed within Sels' reach.
Key Opta facts:
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) December 5, 2018
- Strasbourg have won only 20% of their Ligue 1 games against PSG (11/55), their lowest win ratio against a top-flight opponent that they have faced more than twice.
- PSG have won none of their last two Ligue 1 games (D2), their worst run this season and their worst in the top-flight since April-May 2018 (4).
- PSG are unbeaten in their last 16 away games in Ligue 1 (W11 D5), their best run away from home since April-February 2016 (18).
- Edinson Cavani has scored 17 of his 21 penalties taken in Ligue 1, scoring the last three. He has scored five of Paris’ last eight goals in the top-flight.
The postponement of Saturday's clash with Montpellier due to protests in Paris gives Tuchel time to get Neymar back fit for next week's crucial Champions League trip to Red Star Belgrade.