Paris St Germain’s winning Ligue 1 streak came to an end as they were shut out in Angers on Tuesday evening.
Laurent Blanc’s runaway leaders were chasing a 10th straight league win but were held to a 0-0 draw by French football’s surprise package, who remained in third place following their promotion from Ligue 2 last term. PSG had won 13 of their previous 15 league games to open up a 13-point lead from second-placed Caen before kick-off.
But they were unable to break down an aggressive Angers defense who were resilient throughout and could count on their goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle when called upon. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, PSG’s top scorer, was rested for the trip to Maine-et-Loire after the capital club had scored nine goals in their previous two games against Malmo and Troyes.
The Sweden captain was sent on after 72 minutes with PSG desperate for the breakthrough and Ibrahimovic needing one more goal to break the club’s league goalscoring record. His best chance came when Romain Thomas handled eight minutes from time to allow a free-kick opportunity, but Ibrahimovic could only strike the wall, and Butelle produced a brilliant stop to push Adrien Rabiot’s low follow-up effort around the post.
Ibrahimovic had scored 10 goals in as many league games, so there was extra emphasis on Edinson Cavani to test the second meanest defense in Ligue 1. And the Uruguay striker almost broke the deadlock as early as the sixth minute when his header from a near-post corner struck the woodwork.
PSG were dominating possession and territory and Butelle was forced into his first save after 13 minutes when Blaise Matuidi slipped Serge Aurier into the right channel of his area. The first PSG goal looked simply a matter of time, especially when Angel Di Maria cut into the box on his favourite left foot to strike an Angers post for the second time.
But it was the hosts who finished the first half on top as Gilles Sunu’s shot was blocked by an on-rushing Thiago Motta and Romain Saiss looped his header onto the crossbar with PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp back-pedalling furiously. Angers captain Cheikh Ndoye then climbed well at the far post, but no-one could reach his header which traveled right across PSG’s six-yard box unattended.
Ndoye’s close-range header at the start of the second period produced a smart one-handed save from Trapp, but the script was soon a familiar one with PSG on top and probing for an opening. Lucas Moura volleyed wide from Rabiot’s cross before Cavani gave Maxwell a sight of goal which the full-back wasted by dragging his shot.
Cavani fired straight at Butelle as Angers defended ever deeper. The home team almost grabbed an improbable victory at the death when a quick breakaway ended with substitute Arnold Bouka Moutou blazing wide, but the home crowd at the Stade Jean-Bouin celebrated wildly on the final whistle at picking up a point against the champions.