PSG held 1-1 by Lyon as defending champion draws 4th game in 6; Saint-Etienne wins 1-0 at Lens



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PARIS — Edinson Cavani continued his return to form while Zlatan Ibrahimovic's mini-slump extended to a third game without scoring as defending champion Paris Saint-Germain disappointed again, conceding a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw at home to Lyon on Sunday to slip three points off the lead.

For the third match in succession, PSG drew 1-1 after taking a first-half lead and coach Laurent Blanc acknowledged the team has a confidence problem.

"We're not playing as well as a team, we're not as sharp and we can't seem to put things into place," he said. "We know this scenario only too well. We score the goal that should liberate us and, instead, I get the impression that we tense up."

Cavani put PSG ahead with a header in the 20th minute only for center half Samuel Umtiti to equalize with a deflected effort in the 84th as PSG drew for the fourth time in six league games. Once again, PSG was left clinging on at the end — just like when Blanc's team opened its Champions League campaign with a stuttering 1-1 draw away to Ajax.

Like Ajax on Wednesday night, Lyon could have won it in the closing stages but midfielder Corentin Tolisso scooped the ball over from close range. Ibrahimovic hardly made an impact and spent large parts of the game arguing with the referee.

"When a club's not getting results there's always the feeling of a malaise. The atmosphere was a bit more relaxed last year with the results we had," Blanc said. "The players are all disappointed and we're realistic enough to know we're not at our best."

With only two wins and five draws overall this season, the pressure is increasing on Blanc to deliver better results, although for now his job does not appear to be under threat.

"He's not in danger. He'll stay with us until the end of the season," PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said. "This is not PSG's level, that's for sure. We need to work harder, every day."

Earlier, midfielder Fabien Lemoine scored a late winner as Saint-Etienne won 1-0 at Lens to move level on points with Bordeaux and overall leader Marseille. The top three have 13 points, while Lille, which drew 0-0 at home to Montpellier, is one point behind them.

Blanc made several changes from the Ajax game. Serge Aurier and Lucas Digne came in at fullback and Ezequiel Lavezzi was restored to the left wing, with the ineffective Brazil winger Lucas dropping to the bench.

Yohan Cabaye missed an early chance before Cavani rose to powerfully head in Digne's cross for his second goal in as many games after putting PSG ahead against Ajax.

Lyon almost equalized 10 minutes later when midfielder Arnold Mvuemba struck the bar with a fine free-kick.

Lavezzi caused Lyon's defense problems with his speed and direct runs, but PSG looked vulnerable to a Lyon counter-attack and Blanc brought on Thiago Motta with 25 minutes remaining to strengthen his midfield.

After Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes saved efforts from Motta and Ibrahimovic, PSG goalie Salvatore Sirigu denied Clinton Njie with a fine save. Moments later Lyon won a corner, Njie teed up Umtiti and his shot hit Aurier before wrong-footing Sirigu.

"We concede goals when there doesn't seem to be any danger and we're in control of the match," Sirigu lamented.

Earlier, Lemoine started and finished a fine team move in the 82nd minute, slotting past goalkeeper Rudy Riou after running onto Ricky Van Wolfswinkel's pass.

Lille missed the chance to go top after failing to break Montpellier's defense in a goalless draw.

Marcos Lopes, Michael Frey and Jonathan Delaplace combined well in the 24th minute for Lille, only for the latter to miss his strike. Montpellier goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren was forced into a good save soon after to deny Ryan Mendes.

Elsewhere, Monaco followed up its 1-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League midweek with a 1-0 win against Guingamp to climb out of the relegation zone.

After goalkeeper Jonas Lossl had saved Joao Moutinho's free kick, winger Nabil Dirar pounced to fire home in the 38th.

Monaco moved up to 15th spot and Guingamp dropped to 19th.

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