PSG ties 1-1 with Monaco in battle of big spenders - NBC Sports

PSG ties 1-1 with Monaco in battle of big spenders
September 22, 2013, 5:15 pm

PARIS (AP) - The clash of big spenders in the French league finished even as Paris Saint-Germain drew 1-1 at home against Monaco on Sunday and missed the chance to replace its title rival at the top of the standings.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave PSG an early lead with a spectacular finish and Radamel Falcao responded with a fine poacher's effort as two of the best strikers in the world cancelled each other out in a match that started at a frenetic pace before fizzling out in the second half.

Monaco, which spent even more money than PSG in the offseason, remains two points clear of PSG, which leads third-place Saint-Etienne on goal difference.

Elsewhere, the goals flowed as Lyon beat Nantes 3-1, Nice thrashed Valenciennes 4-0 and Lorient drew 3-3 with Bordeaux.

Striker Edinson Cavani had two chances to win the match for PSG in injury time but first his shot was blocked by defender Andrea Raggi and then his glancing header flashed just wide moments later.

Owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, promoted Monaco spent about 170 million euros ($230 million) this summer. PSG, bankrolled by Qatar Sports Investments, splashed out 114 million euros ($154 million), having spent more than that last season.

Falcao joined from Atletico Madrid in a deal estimated to be worth 60 million euros ($79 million), while Cavani cost PSG 64 million euros ($84 million) in the fifth most expensive transfer in history.

PSG took only five minutes to strike first when Ibrahimovic emphatically volleyed in Maxwell's cross from the left.

The move was started by center half Thiago Silva, whose superb 40-yard pass sailed over the Monaco midfield and gave countryman Maxwell time and space to pick out Ibrahimovic, who jabbed the ball in with the bottom of his boot.

Ibrahimovic topped the scoring charts last season with 30 goals but this was only his second so far this term.

PSG lost Silva to injury after 20 minutes as he limped off clutching the back of his thigh.

That left PSG with a makeshift defensive pairing of 19-year-old Marquinhos and fourth-choice center back Zoumana Camara to face Falcao, and three minutes later the Colombian sprinted to the near post and headed in Joao Moutinho's cross from the left.

Ibrahimovic was in one of his daring moods, and tried his luck with a powerful shot from 35 yards that had goalkeeper Danijel Subasic scampering to his left to tip wide for a corner.

But with Ibrahimovic hogging possession, Cavani seemed at a loss, sometimes making the same runs and at other times isolated as he waited for a pass. It took 30 minutes for him to get any space and when he did, he fired a low shot that skidded past the post.

PSG should have scored five minutes before halftime, with Ibrahimovic the culprit for a glaring miss when he headed over from Cavani's free kick from six yards out. Marco Verrati then opened up Monaco's defense with a slick pass to send Ibrahimovic free down the left. He checked inside his marker and then curled a pass over to Ezequiel Lavezzi, who volleyed over from a tight angle.

In the battle of the superstar forwards, Falcao responded by curling a free kick just wide.

PSG had the first chance after the break when Lavezzi burst down the left and crossed for Ibrahimovic, who flicked the ball just wide. Falcao then almost broke free with a sublime piece of skill as he flicked the ball over his head, only to be closed down before he could shoot.

Chances became scarcer as the second half drew on, and PSG coach Laurent Blanc replaced Lavezzi with Brazilian winger Lucas.

Meanwhile, striker Bafetimbi Gomis scored his first goal of the season as Lyon ended its six-match winless run. Midfielder Clement Grenier and winger Jimmy Briand added further goals as Lyon climbed to seventh place.

Dario Cvitanich scored from the penalty spot to give fifth-place Nice the lead and its first goal in the new 35,000-seater Allianz Riviera stadium. Midfielders Eric Bautheac and Christian Bruls and forward Alexy Bosetti completed the rout.

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