Paris (AFP) – Bernardo Silva struck an injury-time equaliser as Monaco salvaged a deserved point in a 1-1 draw at reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain to keep the visitors top of Ligue 1.
Edinson Cavani scored his 21st league goal of the season with an 81st-minute penalty at the Parc des Princes, but Portugal international Silva fired home in stoppage time to thwart the hosts.
Monaco moved back above Nice, who were 3-1 winners over Guingamp earlier on Sunday, on goal difference with Unai Emery’s PSG remaining three points behind in their quest for a fifth straight title.
Julian Draxler returned from a calf problem in place of Angel Di Maria, who scored twice in Tuesday’s 4-1 win at Bordeaux in the League Cup semi-finals, while Adrien Rabiot came in for the injured Marco Verratti in Paris.
Monaco will meet PSG in the final in Lyon on April 1, and coach Leonardo Jardim recalled Valere Germain to partner Radamel Falcao in attack with Fabinho shaking off illness to start after coming off the bench in Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat of Nancy.
Fabinho forced PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp to tip over in a lively first half, albeit one with limited chances as Pep Guardiola scouted his side’s upcoming opponents — Manchester City are set to face Monaco in the Champions League last 16.
Monaco keeper Danijel Subasic was called into action just before the break, first parrying a low drive from Lucas before scrambling to his feet to block a follow-up effort from Cavani.
The visitors nearly caught PSG out within 30 seconds of the restart as Falcao spun inside the area before drawing a save from Trapp before Thomas Lemar drilled the rebound against Rabiot.
However, Trapp hobbled off shortly after with an apparent hamstring problem sustained making a save from a swerving Lemar strike and was replaced by Alphonse Areola.
– Late fireworks –
A devilish low ball across the face of goal from Lemar then flashed between the legs of Jemerson and away to safety as Monaco looked the likelier to break the deadlock.
But PSG were awarded a penalty when Djibril Sidibe tugged Draxler back as he sought to get on the end of a cross, with Cavani calmly converting to give the hosts the lead.
But Monaco, who arrived in the capital averaging over three goals a game and unbeaten in their last seven trips to the Paris in the league, kept pressing and were rewarded when Silva’s low drive from outside the area skipped past Areola.
Earlier, Mario Balotelli secured a first win in four games for Nice as they ended a run of three successive draws with victory at home to Guingamp.
Alassane Plea struck after 11 minutes to give Nice the lead at the Allianz Riviera and Jean-Michael Seri, back from Africa Cup of Nations duty with the Ivory Coast, added a second before half-time.
Jimmy Briand pulled a goal back for Guingamp on the hour but Balotelli, who was targeted with racial abuse in last week’s game at Bastia, sealed the win three minutes from time.
Nice coach Lucien Favre admitted it had been a struggle at times and insisted his side would continue to take things step by step.
“We scored three goals at key times. Guingamp didn’t have many chances but we sat back and suffered. We have to keep taking it match by match and we have a big one at Monaco next Saturday,” said Favre.
Lyon slumped to a 2-1 home defeat against Lille on Saturday as Yassine Benzia punished his former side with his first goals of the season, while Bafetimbi Gomis netted a hat-trick as Marseille thrashed Montpellier 5-1 on Friday.
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