PSG’s poor run continues with Reims draw
PARIS – Paris St Germain’s mediocre run in Ligue 1 continued as they fell to a last-gasp 1-1 draw at home against Stade de Reims after being reduced to 10 men on Sunday.
Neymar scored early in the second half before Marco Verratti was shown a straight red card shortly after coming on as a substitute, with Folarin Balogun equalizing six minutes into stoppage time.
PSG, who again lacked creativity, missed out on an opportunity to extend their Ligue 1 lead to five points after the chasing pack of RC Lens, Olympique de Marseille and Monaco also grabbed only one point on Saturday.
The capital side, who had lost two of their three previous games, have 48 points from 20 games with Lens on 45 and Marseille on 43 in an open title race.
Reims are 11th on 26 points after stretching their Ligue 1 unbeaten run to 12 games.
“I don’t have the words to describe this match. We need to change our mindset,” said PSG midfielder Danilo Pereira.
“We have to be able to suffer together. If we can’t do that it’s going to be tough for us.”
PSG started with Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar for the first time this year but snoozed through the opening half, which they ended with a single shot while Reims, who played with a compact defense, threatened through Marshall Munetsi, Alexis Flips and Balogun.
It prompted coach Christophe Galtier to substitute Vitinha with Verratti in midfield and the Italian had an immediate impact as PSG finally applied some pressure.
In the 51st minute, Messi’s shot was deflected into the path of Neymar, who dribbled past Yehvann Diouf before poking the ball home.
Verratti’s contribution, however, ceased after 14 minutes as he picked up a red card after a VAR review for a rough tackle on Junya Ito.
But PSG continued to dominate with Sergio Ramos coming close with a doubleheader and Achraf Hakimi having a goal disallowed for offside.
As it seemed the home side would get away with three points, Balogun ran beyond Ramos before dribbling past Gianluigi Donnarumma and putting the ball into an empty net for a well-deserved equalizer, his 11th league goal of the season.
Earlier, Olympique Lyonnais claimed a 2-0 win at AC Ajaccio for their first win in their last four league games thanks to goals by Johann Lepenant and Alexandre Lacazette.
Tempers flared after the final whistle as a scuffle erupted between staff members of both sides.
Lyon is ninth on 28 points.