Zlatan Ibrahimovic saved defending champion Paris Saint-Germain from defeat in its French league opener by scoring twice in a 2-2 draw at Reims on Friday.
Ibrahimovic volleyed PSG into an early lead when he linked up well with Javier Pastore to beat Reims goalkeeper Johny Placide in the sixth minute but he then blasted the ball against the post just over 10 minutes later with an open goal at his mercy.
Things went from bad to worse for the Sweden international in the 19th minute as he saw his low penalty strike saved by Placide. Prince Oniangue and Antoine Devaux then put Reims 2-1 up at the break before Ibrahimovic atoned for his errors with a 64th-minute equaliser.
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It had all started so well for PSG’s talismanic striker when he fired the visitors ahead early in the first half. Edinson Cavani laid the ball off to Pastore who passed it on to Ibrahimovic who was rushing towards the goal, only breaking his stride to fire between the keepers’ legs.
He then missed the chance to claim a two-goal lead in the 18th minute when he smashed an effort against the post before he was unable to beat Placide from the penalty spot moments later after he had been brought down by Michael Tacalfred in the area. Reims then leveled the score at 1-1 when Oniangue struck from close range following a Diego free-kick.
The home side went into half-time ahead after Devaux fired in from 20 yards following some great build-up play with Gaetan Charbonnier to stun the PSG defenders and goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. PSG came out firing after the break, but they could only convert one chance into a goal.
That came in the 64th minute when another marvelous ball from Pastore from the left wing set up Ibrahimovic, who coolly controlled it and fired in from close range. Cavani went close in the 77th minute but Placide was up to the challenge before the Uruguayan striker headed inches wide in stoppage time.
Aissa Mandi made sure of a point for Reims when he cleared a 94th-minute volley by Clement Chantome off the line.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.