Ligue 1

Monaco gets crucial point against PSG

saving grace
Monaco players celebrate after Paris Saint-Germain's Thiago Silva scored an own goal.
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PARIS (AP)

Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva turned the ball into his own net as Monaco fought back to draw 1-1 against the Ligue 1 leaders in their table-topping clash on Sunday.

PSG took the lead in the eighth minute when Argentina midfielder Javier Pastore headed in from close range after Brazil defender Alex had flicked on a corner from the right.

However, fellow Brazilian Silva lunged to keep out a cross from right back Fabinho and the ball looped past goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu in the 74th.

''Monaco played really well in the second half. We backed off a bit but that's also down to their quality,'' PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi said. ''I think a draw is a fair result. They're a good team.''

The draw means that PSG maintains its five-point lead over second-place Monaco with 14 matches remaining.

''We had a few chances to score a second goal, but it was more difficult for us in the second half,'' PSG coach Laurent Blanc said. ''Both teams tried to win it - you only need to look at the players who came on.''

But Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri continues to play down his side's title chances.

''I have to be honest with the fans We have ambition, OK, but this is our first season together,'' Ranieri said. ''We must stay calm and play for second place. If somewhere along the line PSG slips up, we'll be there.''

Within two minutes of PSG's goal, Lucas Ocampos forced a smart save from Sirigu and the rebound fell to Emmanuel Riviere, who fired just wide. Riviere went close again moments later but Silva got to the ball just before him.

PSG soaked up the pressure and nearly added a second goal in the 25th when Zlatan Ibrahimovic's firmly-hit free kick drew a good save from goalie Danijel Subasic.

Monaco center half Ricardo Carvalho and Colombia winger James Rodriguez were both booked for challenges on Ibrahimovic, whose low free kick 10 minutes into the second half was brilliantly saved by Subasic.

Then, Sirigu was almost caught out by a looping pass that went over his head, but he managed to get a hand onto it and grab it before Riviere could pounce.

Ranieri brought on substitute Dimitar Berbatov with about 25 minutes to go, and the equalizer came in the 74th when Rodriguez fed Brazilian defender Fabinho down the right and his cross forced Silva to commit himself.

''There was someone behind me, but I didn't manage to get it away,'' Silva said. ''Monaco was very motivated tonight and defended well.''

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With moments remaining, Fabinho found himself in space and his shot was palmed away by Sirigu. Then it was Subasic's turn as he made a point-blank save to deny Ibrahimovic.

''They had chances, and so did we, so I think it's a good result,'' Monaco midfielder Jeremy Toulalan said, adding that the title is still within reach. ''You never know, although our main objective is to qualify for the Champions League.''

Earlier, forwards Alexandre Lacazette and Bafetimbi Gomis scored a goal each as Lyon won 2-1 at Nantes to move up to sixth place.

Lacazette has been in fine form and he opened the scoring in the 40th minute, turning in the rebound after goalkeeper Remy Riou had saved Gomis' effort following Clement Grenier's cross from the right.

Lacazette has 13 league goals this season, including four in the last four games.

''It was a gutsy win for us. It got tricky at the end but we all stuck together,'' Gomis said. ''It's not easy to play every three days, but we've got a quality squad.''

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