PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain missed the chance to move top of the French league after wasting several good chances in a 0-0 draw away to Monaco on Sunday.
PSG was without top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic through suspension and his absence was telling, as striker Edinson Cavani, winger Ezequiel Lavezzi and attacking midfielder Javier Pastore all fluffed scoring opportunities.
"The most difficult thing in football is to score goals. It's one thing to create chances but you have to score them," PSG coach Laurent Blanc said. "It's frustrating because in terms of the game itself we deserved more than a point."
Monaco, which won 3-1 away to Arsenal in the Champions League in midweek, was largely solid in defense in recording a ninth clean sheet in the past 10 league games but mustered only one feeble shot on target. The teams meet again on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the French Cup — this time in Paris — and PSG will again be without Ibrahimovic.
Veteran striker Dimitar Berbatov came on midway through the second half but made little impact for fourth-place Monaco — which is six points behind third-place Marseille with a game in hand.
The result leaves PSG one point behind Lyon, which lost 2-1 away to Lorient on Saturday.
"There's no point going over the points we've dropped. We have to look ahead to the next game," Blanc said. "We're satisfied with the way we played."
PSG almost took the lead when Monaco defender Fabinho mistimed a headed clearance following a PSG corner and the ball almost sailed into the opposite corner.
A minute later, Cavani collected a backheel from Lavezzi, cut inside the penalty area a defender and smacked a firm shot that goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
Lavezzi then missed a great chance when he collected a headed pass from Matuidi and side-footed wide from close range. Lavezzi's pace was causing problems, however, and he planted a shot wide after breaking free down the left.
"We had a lot, a lot of chances. I think we showed character today and played some good football but we couldn't score," Pastore said. "It's down to us to win and we know that."
Monaco hardly threatened in the first half and midfielder Joao Moutinho's soft effort hardly troubled goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.
"It wasn't an easy game, we tried to create chances but PSG did very well," Monaco leftback Layvin Kurzawa said. "They were solid and we struggled with our final pass."
The lively Cavani cut inside, again from the left, shortly before the break but chose power instead of precision and whacked a shot well over.
Lavezzi broke free down the right early in the ssecond half and squared the ball perfectly into the path of Pastore, but he shot meekly at Subasic.
Midway through the second half, Marco Verratti teed up Pastore with a clever pass, Subasic charged off his line to narrow the angle, and Pastore clipped a shot just wide.
"We had the chances to score, and they didn't," PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi said.
Earlier, Paraguayan forward Lucas Barrios scored the winning goal as Montpellier rallied to beat Nice 2-1 to move up to sixth place.
Midfielder Eric Bautheac's penalty put Nice ahead in the 36th minute, but midfielder Bryan Dabo equalized just before the interval and Barrios pounced midway through the second half for coach Rolland Courbis' side.
Also Sunday, striker Yacine Bammou scored midway through the second half as Nantes beat Guingamp 1-0 to win for the first time in eight league games and move up to eigth spot. Nantes had defender Oswaldo Vizcarrondo sent off in the last minute.
Marseille slipped to a 3-2 home defeat against Caen on Friday night, after leading 2-0.
All content copyright ©2015 Daily Journal, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.