French league leader Paris Saint-Germain needed a late equalizer from substitute Thilo Kehrer to grab a 1-1 draw at an inspired Lyon on Sunday.
Brazil midfielder Lucas Paqueta scored in the eighth minute as Lyon took control but, after Kylian Mbappe hit the post for PSG, Kehrer hit a scuffed shot from the edge of the penalty area in the 76th that bounced over goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.
PSG is 11 points ahead of second-place Nice and Marseille. But PSG has won just two of its last six games and needed last-gasp equalizers against Lens and lowly Lorient heading into the winter break.
Similar frailties were exposed again as Lyon’s audacious approach paid off.
PSG had struggled to contain the slick and powerful Paqueta in Paris back in September, when he opened the scoring only for PSG to benefit from a soft penalty and a goal in the final seconds of injury time to win 2-1.
Lyon started strongly again and Houssem Aouar had just gone close when Paqueta opened the scoring, hitting a fine low drive from the right edge of the penalty area.
Bruno Guimaraes opened up PSG’s fragile defense with a superb curling pass from midfield into Paqueta’s path, and he finished with confidence — just like in Paris.
Lopes then made a fine save from PSG defender Marquinhos’ lob and Mbappe hit the post as the visitors fought back.
But PSG’s flagging midfield was easily bypassed again in the 59th when striker Moussa Dembele raced clear, only for goalkeeper Keylor Navas to save his low shot from the right.
Mbappe sliced a shot over in the 71st from the left when teammates waited for a pass in the area and hit the bar in the 82nd.
But defeat would have been harsh on a Lyon side far better than 11th place suggests.
Earlier, Nice overcame an early sending off to add two more goals in a 3-0 win at Brest.
After Denmark striker Kasper Dolberg opened the scoring in the 13th minute, Nice midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin was shown a red card in the 20th.
Nice withstood pressure before substitute striker Andy Delort netted in the 79th from forward Amine Gouiri’s fifth assist of a productive season. Gouiri grabbed his ninth goal with an effort deep in stoppage time.
Nice is above third-place Marseille on goal difference, although Marseille has played one game less.
Nice coach Christophe Galtier paired Gouiri with Dolberg in a 4-4-2 formation. Dolberg’s goal was set up by Justin Kluivert — son of the prolific former Ajax, Barcelona and Netherlands striker, Patrick Kluivert.
Schneiderlin was then ordered off by referee Stephanie Frappart for a dangerous tackle.
Philippe Clement’s first game in charge of Monaco ended in a 0-0 draw at Nantes.
Clement won three straight Belgian league titles and replaced Niko Kovac after he was fired during the midseason break.
Clement earned a reputation as an attack-minded coach but this was a frustrating game of few chances, where Monaco defenders Djibril Sidibe and Benoît Badiashile limped off with thigh injuries in the first half.
Monaco is seventh and Nantes dropped to ninth behind Strasbourg, which won 2-0 at relegation-threatened Metz thanks to goals from striker Ludovic Ajorque and substitute Jean-Eudes Ahoulou.
Also, Clermont drew 0-0 with fellow struggler Reims.
Montpellier’s home game with Troyes was postponed because of a high number of coronavirus cases in the Troyes squad.
Many teams have been hit hard.
PSG was without Lionel Messi and several other players who had the virus. Messi returns to individual training in the coming days after testing negative for the virus on Thursday.
But winger Angel Di Maria, midfielder Julian Draxler, central defender Danilo Pereira, left back Layvin Kurzawa and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma remain in isolation.
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