Paris Saint-Germain lost their perfect start to the Ligue 1 season as they struggled to a 0-0 draw at Montpellier.
The world’s most expensive player on the sidelines to ensure his fitness for Tuesday’s Champions League clash against Bayern Munich, PSG were uninspiring in attack against a stubborn Montpellier side playing in a 5-4-1 formation.
Rising star Kylian Mbappe had the best of the visitors’ chances, but the 18-year-old was profligate in front of goal as Unai Emery’s men could only extend their lead at the top of the table over reigning champions Monaco to one point.
PSG started slowly as Montpellier comfortably kept them at arm’s length.
The visitors unsurprisingly had most of the ball, but Montpellier looked a threat on the counter-attack with the pace of Claude Ninga up front.
Without Neymar pulling the strings, Paris were toothless for the first 45 minutes, with some players perhaps keeping one eye on the Bayern game.
PSG did finally create a decent chance shortly after the restart, as Montpellier threw away possession on the edge of their own area and Mbappe curled a tame shot straight at home goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte.
The teenager, who will become the world’s second-most expensive player behind Neymar when he completes his permanent transfer from Monaco next year, should have broken the deadlock, but headed wide when unmarked from only a few yards out.
Mbappe was starting to make an impact, as he raced through on goal only to scuff his shot and allow the home defence to clear.
PSG coach Emery belatedly made his first change in the 66th minute with Lucas Moura replacing the ineffective Julian Draxler.
Striker Edinson Cavani, who missed a penalty last week after an argument with Neymar, had an appeal for a spot-kick waved away after going down in a heap under a potentially goal-saving tackle from defender Pedro Mendes.
Last season’s runners-up were left frustrated by Montpellier’s organisation as they mustered only one shot on target.
On Friday, Monaco had put the pressure on PSG at the summit as Radamel Falcao took his goal tally for the season to 11 with a brace in a 4-0 thrashing of Lille.
The champions were barely made to sweat by their pitiful hosts, whose coach Marcelo Bielsa is now under serious pressure after a six-match winless run.