* PSG lucky to get away with 2-2 home draw
* Bordeaux beat Lyon, St Etienne thrash Stade Rennes
PARIS Feb 19 Substitute Guillaume Hoarau
struck two minutes from time to salvage a 2-2 home draw for
Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain in an enthralling
top-of-the-table clash with confident Montpellier on Sunday.
John Utaka's header looked to have sealed a famous away win
for Montpellier but France striker Hoarau tapped in after a good
move to send the Parc des Princes delirious.
Montpellier, top scorers in Ligue 1 this term with 47 goals,
have surprised most pundits by lasting the course until February
and deserved to at least stay a point behind the leaders after
24 games of the 38-match season.
"I don't believe in Santa Claus," Montpellier president
Louis Nicollin, who did not travel to Paris, told Canal + TV
when asked if his modest side could win the title.
"I'm gutted but then again I'm happy with a draw. Each time
I go to an away game we lose. They've shown our club in a good
Defender Alex blasted PSG into an unlikely lead with a
swerving free kick after 41 minutes but the visitors hit back on
the stroke of halftime through Younes Belhanda as a team who
finished way down in 14th last season showed immense character.
The south-coast side made a strong start but PSG boast the
top flight's best defence and managed to repel the early threat.
The defence then went on the attack when centre back Alex,
who joined PSG last month alongside his former Chelsea coach
Carlo Ancelotti, scored in style to make light of normal free
kick taker Javier Pastore being left on the bench.
However, Morocco playmaker Belhanda soon had the PSG defence
blushing as pink as the Ligue 1 matchball when he ghosted in to
nod home Hilton's perfect cross.
Nigeria's Utaka thought he had won the game on 83 minutes
with a diving header which goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu should
have saved but Hoarau had the last word.
Girondins Bordeaux earlier continued their improvement and
increased Olympique Lyon's domestic woes when Yoan Gouffran
struck just before the break to seal a 1-0 home win.
Bordeaux have struggled since winning the 2009 title but lie
ninth and within touch of the European places if they build on
this result and last weekend's stunning 5-4 victory at champions
Fifth-placed Lyon lost 2-1 at home to lowly Caen last
weekend before the 1-0 Champions League victory over APOEL
Nicosia in midweek and their inconsistency and nervousness in
front of goal was again evident on the west coast.
Gouffran scored at the far post following a corner in a
largely forgettable encounter, unlike last weekend at Lille.
In the other early Ligue 1 match, St Etienne thumped Stade
Rennes 4-0 to leapfrog the Brittany side into sixth.
Third-placed Lille won 1-0 at Lorient on Saturday while
Olympique Marseille, in fourth, drew 1-1 with Valenciennes
before next week's Champions League last-16 first leg against
(Writing by Mark Meadows, editing by Ed Osmond; To query or
comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)