Paris Saint-Germain take top spot with narrow win as Lyon lose
Paris Saint-Germain took first place in the French league with a 2-1 home win over Nice, then took advantage of Lyon’s surprise 2-1 home loss to Montpellier on Saturday.
But those results left Lille needing only a home draw against Brest on Sunday to regain first place.
Lyon had won five straight games but fell behind in the 19th minute when Montpellier midfielder Teji Savanier grabbed a superb cross from striker Andy Delort.
Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paqueta equalized seconds before the break, coming in at close range after Houssem Aouar’s header stopped.
Savanier’s free kick in the middle of the second half was mismanaged by the Lyon defense and substitute Elye Wahi scored.
Frustrated forward Islam Slimani had two heads saved in the stoppage time as Lyon pushed hard to equalize.
Earlier, defending champion PSG overcame a terrible mistake by center-back Marquinhos to win with a late goal from Moise Kean.
Marquinhos was under no pressure on the ball, but instead of clearing it, he passed left through the penalty area and Rony Lopes intercepted the ball and finished with a powerful shot in the 50th minute.
Cool forward Amine Gouiri hit the crossbar 10 minutes later after the visitors easily sliced PSG’s defense – a worrying sign given he faces Lionel Messi’s Barcelona on Tuesday.
But with Nice in the lead, PSG scored against the run of the game when Kylian Mbappe crossed the back post and Mauro Icardi expertly stole a pass to give Kean an easy header in the 75th.
Julian Draxler capped a rare appearance with the aim of giving PSG a head start in the middle of the first half. The German winger came in close after Icardi slipped to meet a cross and his shot bounced off the post towards Draxler.
With PSG only third in the league ahead of the game, coach Mauricio Pochettino couldn’t afford to rest key players but also had to keep the Champions League game against Barcelona in mind.
Neymar is injured for the next four weeks with an adductor injury, winger Angel Di Maria is treating a thigh problem and midfielder Marco Verratti is recovering from a bruised hip.
“ Marco trained today, he still feels a little bit of pain, ” Pochettino said. “ We will see how things develop over the next few days. ”
There was, however, a bright spot. Goalkeeper Keylor Navas started after recovering from an adductor injury.
In Saturday’s other match, sixth-placed Lens drew 1-1 at struggling Reims.
Kosovo midfielder Arber Zeneli scored early for Reims and striker Florian Sotoca equalized in the second half.
As Lille seek an eighth consecutive victory, Monaco are also in good shape and can cash a ninth in a row with a home victory against Lorient, 17th place.
Lille’s defense has been rock solid, allowing just one goal in the last seven games, while Monaco have conceded 10 in eight games.
Monaco, fourth, will be one point behind Lyon in case of victory.