UEFA Champions League
Parc des Princes, Paris, France
90’+3′ Giroud Sent off (Second bookable offence)
90’+3′ Veratti Sent off (Second bookable offence)
French Champions Paris Saint-Germain’s opening Champions League Group A game against Arsenal ended in a 1-1 draw at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
A goal after just 42 seconds from Edinson Cavani, who spurned a number of glorious chances in the game, put the Parisians ahead before an Alexis Sánchez strike, 13 minutes from time, rescued a point for the Gunners before substitute Olivier Giroud and Marco Veratti were both sent off following a clash late-on.
The hosts started brightly and immediately opened the scoring after just 42 seconds when Serge Aurier sent in a teasing delivery that Cavani met with a fine header past David Ospina.
In the 12th minute, the hosts went close to doubling their lead when an Ángel Di María corner curled goalwards and forced Ospina to tip it behind.
The hosts should have doubled their lead in the 33rd minute. Veratti looked to play an eye of a needle pass that Nacho Monreal intercepted but Cavani was onto the loose ball, beat Ospina, who was off his line and had an open-goal to aim for, but the Uruguayan fired wide when he had to score.
Seven minutes later, Cavani had another opportunity to double his and his side’s tally. Di María wonderfully picked out the Uruguayan who controlled the ball on his chest before losing his footing as he tried to volley home. He had acres of space and time too.
In the 52nd minute, the hosts had a good opportunity to make it two when Di María was played through on-goal but he couldn’t get a shot away under-pressure from Monreal.
In the 67th minute, PSG had another good chance to add to their tally when Aurier exchanged a nice one-two with Di María who found the full-back who was through on-goal but he saw his effort smothered by Ospina, who was keeping his side in the game.
A minute later, Cavani had another glorious chance to wrap up the game when a mix-up in the Arsenal defence after good work from Adrien Rabiot allowed the Uruguayan through on-goal; and he had just Ospina to beat, but again his finish was poor and Ospina smothered the effort.
Three minutes later, the hosts had another opportunity when a poor pass from Ospina was seized by Veratti who found Di María, who did well to keep possession and fire a volley that Ospina was forced to tip over the bar.
It looked as though the hosts were going to rue their missed chances; and in the 77th minute the Gunners capitalised on Cavani’s spurned opportunities to level the scores. Mesut Özil found Alex Iwobi in the centre of the box, who forced Alphonse Aréola into a fine save but Sánchez was quick to react to the loose ball and fired home.
Three minutes later, the hosts had a great chance to go in front when Cavani was played through on-goal, but again he was denied by Ospina, who managed to claw the ball away.
Two minutes later, Arsenal went close to taking a surprise lead when Sánchez found Iwobi who tried to bend an effort into the far-corner, but Aréola palmed the effort away.
In the third minute of injury-time, both sides were reduced to ten-men when Veratti and substitute Giroud clashed off the ball. Although there was very little in the incident, referee Viktor Kassai harshly booked the already-booked players and dismissed both of them with barely a minute to go.
The final chance of the game fell to the hosts when a corner was flicked-on towards Marquinhos at the back-post but somehow he couldn’t get the decisive touch.
The result meant that all the sides in Group A are on a point as Ludogorets and Basel also drew 1-1. Arsenal are top in the group whilst PSG are fourth (based on head-to-head).