PARIS: Georginio Wijnaldum came to the rescue with a last-gasp goal as Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain salvaged a fortunate 1-1 draw at RC Lens on Saturday.
The Dutch midfielder jumped higher than his marker in added time to head home a pinpoint cross from Kylian Mbappe two minutes into stoppage time to cancel out Seko Fofana’s second-half opener and put PSG on 42 points from 17 games.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who once again looked severely short of ideas, lead second-placed Olympique de Marseille by 13 points after OM slumped to a 2-1 defeat at home against Stade Brestois earlier on Saturday.
Lens, who missed several chances to wrap it up before Wijnaldum’s equaliser, stayed fifth on 27 points.
PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino’s substitutions proved decisive as Mbappe and Wijnaldum came in for the last 20 minutes.
In front of a buoyant crowd at Stade Felix Bollaert, Lens played with pace and flair but missed a cutting edge until Fofana broke the stalemate in the 62nd minute.
PSG looked disorganised most of the time. Lionel Messi, who was awarded a record-extending seventh Ballon d’Or this week, hit the woodwork in the first half and could not add to his meagre tally of one goal in the league since he joined this summer.
Lens took the lead while Messi was lying on the pitch following contact with Facundo Medina. Fofana unleashed a powerful long-range strike that Keylor Navas failed to block.
Despite two consecutive draws, PSG increased its lead to 13 points after Marseille lost at home against Brest.
Brazilian international Gerson opened the scoring in the first half for Marseille with his second goal in as many games after playing a one-two with Dimitri Payet.
However, Brest levelled early in the second half as Romain Faivre scored a penalty after a Boubacar Kamara handball.
Franck Honorat then crashed a superb winner in off the underside of the crossbar as the Brittany side made it six successive league wins, the best run in their history in the top flight lifting them to sixth.
A late Jimmy Giraudon own goal allowed reigning champions Lille to beat Troyes 2-1 and rise to seventh.
Before that the league’s leading scorer Jonathan David equalised with his 11th goal of the season after Troyes had gone in front.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2021