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PSG frustrated by Toulouse after Champions League exploits

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Toulouse’s goalkeeper Alban Lafont stops the ball kicked by Paris Saint-Germain’s forward Edinson Cavani on February 19, 2017 at the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris © AFP / CHRISTOPHE SIMON

PARIS, France, Feb 19Paris Saint-Germain missed the chance to eat into Monaco’s lead at the top of the French Ligue 1 table after being held to a 0-0 draw by Toulouse at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.

At the same venue where they had blown away Barcelona five days earlier, winning 4-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, Unai Emery’s side could not break down mid-table opposition.

Edinson Cavani struck the woodwork in the second half for the defending champions but Toulouse held out as PSG failed to score in a game for the first time since the start of December.

The draw extends Paris’ unbeaten run in all competitions to 13 games going back to before Christmas but it also means they end the weekend still three points behind leaders Monaco.

The principality side needed a Bernardo Silva equaliser in the second half to come from behind and draw 1-1 at struggling Bastia on Friday, while Nice are only behind PSG on goal difference thanks to their 1-0 win at bottom club Lorient on Saturday.

Wylan Cyprien scored the only goal for Nice, who held on after having Mario Balotelli sent off in the second half.

Lyon’s forward Alexandre Lacazette (L) celebrates after scoring a goal against Dijon with teammates Christophe Jallet (C) and Memphis Depay on February 19, 2017 © AFP / ROMAIN LAFABREGUE

“We have missed an opportunity today. We need a little more energy and desire to win matches like this,” said Emery, whose team lost 2-0 in Toulouse earlier in the season.

“The team has made a lot of progress but there are still things we need to work on and improve.”

Emery made five changes to the PSG team from the Barcelona game but was without Angel Di Maria, the Argentine struggling with a muscle injury after scoring twice against the Catalans.

Here the home side had almost all the possession and chances, but teenage Toulouse goalkeeper Alban Lafont saved from Lucas Moura early on before Cavani battered a rising shot just wide.

Marco Verratti was brought off the bench after the break to pull the strings and PSG camped in the Toulouse half but Cavani struck the frame of the goal from close range after Lafont had saved the Uruguayan’s initial attempt.

Marquinhos then threw himself at a Lucas corner only to see his header blocked on the line, and PSG will now hope to get back to winning ways when they go to great rivals Marseille next week.

– Lyon boost Euro push –

Earlier, Alexandre Lacazette scored his 21st league goal of the season as Lyon fought back from behind to win 4-2 at home to Dijon.

Montpellier’s defender Nordi Mukiele (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Saint Etienne on February 19, 2017 © AFP / PASCAL GUYOT

Corentin Tolisso put Lyon ahead at the Parc OL but goals from Julio Tavares and Lois Diony had Dijon leading until the hosts came roaring back late on.

Tolisso netted again with a speculative effort from 20 yards to make it 2-2 with 10 minutes left and Lacazette then put Lyon in front with a penalty in the 84th minute before Nabil Fekir wrapped up the win at the death.

The result strengthens Lyon’s grip on fourth spot as they sit four points clear of Saint-Etienne, Marseille and Bordeaux with a game in hand.

“We didn’t give up and we showed great character. It is a victory that can help to unite us even more as a team,” said Lyon coach Bruno Genesio.

Meanwhile Saint-Etienne lost 2-1 at Montpellier despite taking an early lead through Kevin Monnet-Paquet, and Les Verts also finished the game with 10 men after Jorginho was sent off early in the second half.

Christophe Galtier’s side host Manchester United in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Wednesday with their hopes of progress all but over after losing 3-0 at Old Trafford in the first leg.

Francois Kamano, Nicolas Pallois and Gaetan Laborde scored as Bordeaux beat 10-man Guingamp 3-0.

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