By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) – Runaway leaders Paris St Germain suffered a minor hiccup in their bid for a fourth straight Ligue 1 title when promoted Angers denied them a 10th consecutive win in a goalless stalemate on Tuesday.
PSG, who had won all their league games since Sept. 22, had the best chances but Angers keeper Ludovic Butelle put in an impressive display to keep them at bay at the Jean-Bouin stadium.
“We knew how they play. The key in these games is to score in the opening 15-20 minutes,” PSG coach Laurent Blanc said.
“As long as the score is 0-0 they remain organised and they can even score on a counter attack.”
Laurent Blanc’s side have 42 points from 16 games and lead second-placed Caen, who travel to Monaco on Wednesday, by 14 points. Angers are third on 27 points.
Nice are fifth on 25 points after being held to a 0-0 draw at mid-table Lorient.
On a dire evening in Ligue 1, Olympique Lyonnais also drew 0-0 at Nantes and, having ended a three-game losing streak in all competitions, are fourth on 26 points.
PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic started on the bench at Angers, as Blanc opted to field Edinson Cavani as a lone striker with Lucas and Angel Di Maria on the flanks.
Uruguay striker Cavani was wasteful and smashed Butelle’s post with an early header.
Di Maria also hit the woodwork in the 33rd minute with a fierce strike from just inside the box.
Angers had their best opportunity when Romain Thomas’s header hit the crossbar seven minutes before the break and they had Butelle to thank for making superb saves to deny Serge Aurier and Adrien Rabiot.
Ibrahimovic replaced Lucas in the 72nd minute but had little impact as Angers continued their impressive league run.
(Corrects Nice position from fourth to fifth in paragraph six)
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)