Edinson Cavani scores late to help PSG secure a draw at Reims
PARIS (AP) — Edinson Cavani scored his fifth goal in six French league matches this season as Paris Saint-Germain stuttered again and rallied to secure a 1-1 draw at in-form Reims on Saturday.
The defending champion remains unbeaten and is one point above second-placed Rennes in the standings but shared the points for the second consecutive week following a 2-2 draw with Bordeaux.
Cavani, who came off the bench for the last 25 minutes, leveled in the 84th minute from Javier Pastore's subtle pass almost immediately after substitute forward Jordan Siebatcheu had put the hosts ahead.
PSG had the best chances in the first half but lacked the cutting edge against a solid Reims side which put on a brilliant defensive display and remained three points behind the leaders after six rounds.
Following a 2-0 win over Malmo in the Champions League, PSG coach Laurent Blanc left six regular starters on the bench, including winger Angel Di Maria and Cavani, yet PSG monopolized the ball in the first half hour and came close to opening the scoring in the 18th minute. Ezequiel Lavezzi connected with Layvin Kurzawa's powerful pass as he ran into the area and lobbed keeper Kossi Agassa with a clever chipped ball that a defender saved on the line.
Handed his first start at left back since his move from Monaco, Kurzawa kept feeding PSG midfielders with clean passes but the visitors struggled to find a cutting edge. Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed his control and gave the ball away from Marco Verrati's cross moments after Agassa picked up a thigh injury and was replaced by Johny Placide in the 24th minute.
PSG keeper Kevin Trapp, who made two big mistakes in last weekend's 2-2 draw against Bordeaux, enjoyed a quiet afternoon as Reims seemed more interested in catching PSG strikers with well laid offside traps than building up attacks. Trapp was caught cold by Reims forward Nicolas De Preville's sudden left-footed shot from 15 meters in the 41st minute, though, but was lucky enough to see the ball hit the woodwork.
PSG had three other half-chances immediately after the interval through Lucas Moura, Lavezzi and Ibrahimovic but Placide remained on his guard to deny the visitors' efforts.
Verratti took advantage of some slack man-marking in the 62nd minute to unleash a long-range shot that Placide parried away with his fists, with Ibrahimovic heading wide from the rebound.
Cavani and Di Maria came off the bench for the last 25 minutes to add spark to a mediocre display but it was Reims which made the most of a counterattack to score with seven minutes left to play. After Frederic Bulot launched the move on the right flank, De Preville beat two defenders and crossed for Sibatcheu to score in an empty net.
PSG reacted immediately through Cavani, who connected with Javier Pastore's lofted ball above the Reims defense and fired into the back of the net.