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Pochettino's PSG debut ends in draw, Lyon extend lead

Jan 07, 2021

Paris (France), January 7: Mauricio Pochettino's first match in charge of Paris Saint-Germain didn't go as he expected, as the capital side were held 1-1 at Saint-Etienne on Wednesday, gifting Lyon a chance to extend their lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table to three points.
Lyon survived a late comeback from Lens to beat the newly-promoted team 3-2, taking their tally to 39 points. PSG are second ahead of Lille on goal difference, after the latter slipped up with a 2-1 home defeat to Angers.
Pochettino was confirmed PSG head coach only four days before their first match after the winter break. The former Tottenham manager arrived the Parc des Princes with big ambitions but his start fell short of expectations.
Romain Hamouma opened the scoring for Saint-Etienne in the 19th minute after Idrissa Gueye lost the ball just outside the penalty area. Moise Kean leveled just three minutes later when he swivelled and fired home from close range, but PSG could not find a winner.
"I'm disappointed. We are PSG and we wanted to win," said Pochettino, who played for PSG as a central defender from 2001 to 2003. "This is just the beginning, We have to get to know each other. It was difficult because the preparation was too short."
The setback for the defending champions meant that Rudi Garcia's Lyon, who led the standings at Christmas for the first time since 2008, strengthened their claim as the league's pace-setters.
Memphis Depay hit a brace to take his season's tally to 10, and Lucas Paqueta's own goal put Lens 3-0 behind only seven minutes into the second half.
But Florian Sotoca's goal in the 56th minute secured a glimmer of hope for Lens and Cheick Doucoure scored late on to give Lyon a scare.
"Everyone thought it was going to be an easy win for us, but I was worried this would be a difficult game," Garcia said. "But our unbeaten run continues and I congratulate the players for that."
Northern side Lille, who went into the day level on points with Lyon, dropped to third as Romain Thomas's double in the opening ten minutes sewed up the victory for Angers. Former Beijing Guo'an striker Burak Yilmaz pulled one back for the hosts before the break.
Last year's runner-up Marseille also stayed in the title race after notching a 3-1 home win over Montpellier.
Andre-Villas Boas' side sit fifth, eight points off Lyon but with two games in hand.
Source: Xinhua