French champions Paris Saint-Germain were hit by an injury crisis on Saturday as they not only saw four players break down but also threw away a 2-0 lead over Caen in a dramatic 2-2 draw.
It was the worst possible preparation for the French Ligue 1 champions who await Premier League leaders Chelsea at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 matchup.
Following midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who limped off in the 16th minute, coach Laurent Blanc looked on in horror as Brazilian defender Marquinhos, Ivory Coast international Serge Aurier and Brazilian playmaker Lucas all suffered injuries and had to leave the match.
The late injuries, to newly crowned African champion Aurier and Lucas, meant PSG finished the match with nine men after Blanc had used all of his three substitutes.
“I’m no doctor but, concerning Cabaye and Lucas, it’s a muscle injury. For Marquinhos, it’s the hamstring. For Aurier, the quadriceps,” explained Laurent Blanc.
“They all are muscle injuries. I need to see the seriousness of it all but, for Tuesday’s game, it’s going to be very, very difficult to have them back.”
Blaise Matuidi was also taken off on the hour mark with the midfielder having received a knock on the back of the knee.
“It’s more a knock so it’s not as worrying. I substituted Blaise to be safe,” added Blanc.
The freak scenario in front of a stunned home crowd at the Parc des Princes went from bad to worse when Caen miraculously salvaged a point with two late goals.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi gave PSG what appeared to be a winning advantage after first half goals but Caen, who began the day four points above the relegation zone, were given a lifeline on 89 minutes when Emiliano Sala scrambled home from inside the box.
Then deep into injury time, following a foul by Ibrahimovic, Herve Blazile curled a left-foot free kick into the top corner leaving PSG and their watching faithful in shock.
“If someone had told me this is how it would end after 20 minutes played, I wouldn’t have believed him. Then it started with Cabaye and bad news just kept coming in: another one at half-time, then two others in the second half,” the PSG coach told the press.
“But the worst news is losing two points we were holding in our hands. We couldn’t keep a hold on those two points. I had never witnessed such a scenario. It was just abnormal, even for those who have a lot of experience.”
Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea side are enjoying a weekend off, after being knocked out of the FA Cup in the previous round, but will have looked on with great interest at what was happening on a rainy Saturday in Paris.
The teams also met last season when PSG won 3-1 at the Parc des Princes in the first match only to be eliminated when Demba Ba gave Chelsea a late 2-0 victory in the second leg, sending the Londoners through on away goals.
The point against Caen keeps the capital club level with Marseille, who drew 2-2 on Friday at home to Reims, while leaders Lyon can extend their one point advantage at the top when they travel to Lorient as one of three Sunday fixtures.
In other matches on Saturday, Toulouse picked up three crucial points as they edged Rennes 2-1 whileLeague Cup finalists Bastia continued their fine run with a 2-0 victory on the road at Nantes.
Lille and Nice finished 0-0 in the north while Lens remain second from bottom after a woeful 2-0 home defeat against third from bottom Evian.
Monaco’s scheduled fixture at home to Montpellier was postponed due to heavy rain.
Apart from Lyon’s tie at Lorient on Sunday, sixth-placed Bordeaux meet fourth-placed Saint-Etienne in a fixture crucial to European places for next season. – Agence France-Presse