German defender Thilo Kehrer salvaged a 1-1 draw for Paris Saint-Germain against struggling Lyon with an equalising goal 14 minutes from time in Ligue 1 action on Sunday.
PSG already boast a seemingly insurmountable 11-point lead over second-placed Nice but travelled to Lyon without Argentina ace Lionel Messi after he recuperates from Covid-19 and Neymar, who is receiving injury treatment in Brazil.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team, which is building towards a Champions League clash against Real Madrid, left it late against a team lying 11th in the league.
Lucas Paqueta, himself back after contracting Covid, opened the scoring for Lyon after seven minutes.
The Brazilian striker pounced on a pass by Bruno Guimaraes at the edge of the area, firing low past PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
The home side dominated much of the game, but their record of conceding in the final quarter came back to haunt them as PSG league debutant Edouard Michut played in Kehrer.
The German, whose last goal came in February 2020, saw his tame strike deflected past a sprawling Anthony Lopes in the Lyon goal.
World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe, whose future is awash with rumours as he will be able to leave Paris on a free transfer this summer if he does not sign a new contract, twice hit the woodwork, once late on as PSG pushed in vain for the win.
Pochettino praised his makeshift team that was also missing goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, defender Juan Bernat and midfielders Danilo Pereira, Julian Draxler and Angel Di Maria, who have all also tested positive for coronavirus.
“Our changes had the aim of bringing some freshness,” the coach said.
“We’re hapy because the replacements brought the enthusiasm we needed. Xavi (Simons), Edouard and Thilo were all part of the build-up to the equaliser.”
Pochettino added: “It was a tough spot, but we have to be satisfied.
“It’s difficult to speak about progression, especially in the current circumstances with the Covid that makes the situation unstable.”
Earlier in the day, Nice retook second place with a 3-0 victory at Brest, despite playing the majority of the match with 10 men.
Christophe Galtier’s team move back above Marseille, who won at Bordeaux on Friday, on goal difference.
Kasper Dolberg gave the visitors a 13th-minute lead, but Morgan Schneiderlin was shown a straight red card for a tackle on Christophe Herelle just seven minutes later.
Brest then dominated the match, enjoying 62 percent possession and having 26 attempts at goal, with Nice goalkeeper Walter Benitez forced into 10 saves.
But Nice struck again with 11 minutes remaining, as Amine Gouiri teed up Andy Delort to score. Gouiri added further gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time with his ninth league goal of the season.