PARIS (AP) — The clash of big spenders in the French league finished even as Paris Saint-Germain drew 1-1 at home against Monaco on Sunday and missed the chance to replace its title rival at the top of the standings.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave PSG an early lead with a spectacular finish and Radamel Falcao responded with a fine poacher's effort as two of the best strikers in the world cancelled each other out in a match that started at a frenetic pace before fizzling out in the second half.
"Given the amount of chances we had I think we deserved to win," PSG coach Laurent Blanc said. "It was a good match and there could have been more goals. What pleased me is that both coaches wanted to win the game."
Monaco, which spent even more money than PSG in the offseason, remains two points clear of PSG, which leads third-place Saint-Etienne on goal difference.
"I'm very satisfied with my players," Monaco coach Claude Ranieri said. "I was very curious before the match to see how my team would play. PSG have a lot of quality players and they have more experience than us. We have a lot of young players and we were up against a team with a lot of big champions."
Elsewhere, the goals flowed as Lyon beat Nantes 3-1, Nice thrashed Valenciennes 4-0 and Lorient drew 3-3 with Bordeaux.
Striker Edinson Cavani had two chances to win the match for PSG in injury time but first his shot was blocked by defender Andrea Raggi and then his glancing header flashed just wide moments later.
"Unfortunately we didn't take our chances," Blanc said.
Owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, promoted Monaco spent about 170 million euros ($230 million) this summer. PSG, bankrolled by Qatar Sports Investments, splashed out 114 million euros ($154 million), having spent more than that last season.
Falcao joined from Atletico Madrid in a deal estimated to be worth 60 million euros ($79 million), while Cavani cost PSG 64 million euros ($84 million) in the fifth most expensive transfer in history.
PSG took only five minutes to strike first when Ibrahimovic emphatically volleyed in Maxwell's cross from the left.
The move was started by center half Thiago Silva, whose superb 40-yard pass sailed over the Monaco midfield and gave countryman Maxwell time and space to pick out Ibrahimovic, who jabbed the ball in with the bottom of his boot.