Nice back on top of Ligue 1 with 2-2 draw at PSG
By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) - Nice reclaimed top spot in Ligue 1 with a 2-2 draw at champions Paris St Germain on Sunday as the title race remained wide open almost halfway through the season.
Lucien Favre's Nice were 2-0 up at halftime with goals by Wylan Cyprien and Alassane Plea but Edinson Cavani struck twice as PSG avoided a first home league loss in almost nine months.
Nice have 40 points from 17 games and lead Monaco, who had a 4-0 win at Girondins de Bordeaux on Saturday, by a point.
Third-placed PSG are four points off the pace.
Olympique Lyonnais are fourth on 28 points after Mathieu Valbuena's first-half strike gave them a 1-0 home win against Stade Rennes, who had Rami Bensebaini sent off late on.
PSG, whose previous Ligue 1 outing ended in an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at Montpellier, had the first big chance when Layvin Kurzawa struck a powerful 20-metre shot that was tipped away by Yoan Cardinale at the end of a sharp counter attack.
Nice were on the back foot as the hosts pressed high up the pitch, but there were no other clear opportunities for PSG.
Nice went ahead after 32 minutes when Cyprien curled a superb 25-metre free kick past Alphonse Areola - only the second league goal PSG had conceded at the Parc des Princes this season.
Five minutes before the break, Cavani beat the offside trap to collect a superb cross from Marco Verratti but the Uruguay striker fluffed his half-volley.
Plea doubled the Nice tally on the stroke of halftime when he benefited from a misunderstanding between centre backs Marquinhos and Thiago Silva and beat Areola from close range.
PSG pulled a goal back one minute into the second half, Cavani tapping in from Serge Aurier's pinpoint cross after yet another impressive rush down the flank by the Ivory Coast fullback.
Cavani then equalised on the hour, poking the ball home after Cardinale's save had bounced onto Dante and into the path of the PSG striker, who netted his 16th league goal this season.
With both coaches not wanting to settle for a draw, Nice's Italian striker Mario Balotelli came on for Plea while PSG's Hatem Ben Arfa took Verratti's place 15 minutes from time.
Cavani was close to giving the hosts victory in the closing stages but his attempt from Ben Arfa's cross went just wide.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)