Paris Saint-Germain moved clear of Montpellier at the summit of Ligue 1 on Sunday afternoon, though it missed the chance to regain the three-point advantage the club boasted over next weekend’s opponent as it was held to a sterile 0-0 draw with Nice at the Stade du Ray.
Openings were extremely rare in a clash that was incredibly close-fought, with a five minute period prior to the break offering the only real flurry of action as PSG fought to grab the lead.
Alex made his debut in the heart of the visiting defense, and though the occasional surge from Eric Mouloungui would pose les Parisiens’ rearguard problems, it was a relatively straightforward match for the Brazilian to make his Ligue 1 bow in.
The rearguard of the home side was equally comfortable, though. PSG’s one moment of true quality came towards the end of the first half when an incisive pass from Thiago Motta created a half yard of space for Nene in the box. The former Monaco man couldn’t quite the ball under complete control, and after a clever back heel, Kevin Gameiro could only shoot wide on the stretch.
Moments later, Milan Bisevac offered a shot from range, though his well struck effort zipped off the turf wide of target.
Nice was offering a similar kind of threat, which largely came through Mouloungui, though Salvatore Sirigu was never seriously threatened.
Halftime might have brought a change of emphasis in the game, but the second period offered even less in the way of action as defenses dominated.
Substitute Guillaume Hoarau had a trio of good efforts on goal, the best of which was a thumping header over the top from a Maxwell cross with quarter of an hour to go.
Rene Marsiglia’s side was perhaps the likelier to break the stalemate. Kevin Anin surged forward from the midfield to strike a shot wide of target, and an ambitious effort from Fabian Monzon from way out on the left touchline summed up the inability of either side to get shots on target from more reasonable positions.
Three minutes from time, Nene was released by Hoarau, but his dallying in front of goal prevented him getting a shot away when a goal seemed likely.
PSG has often been accused of being disjointed this season, and rarely has it been more apparent in this clash, which the team never truly looked like winning.
It goes go into next weekend’s top-of-the-table meeting with Montpellier in pole position, but can’t be overly confident of breaking down a defense that hasn’t conceded at all since the turn of the year.