Dethroned Montpellier hold champions
© AFP

Paris Saint-Germain began the defence of their Ligue 1 title with a 1-1 draw against the team who they replaced as champions tonight.

PSG claimed the title from Montpellier last season to become French champions for the first time in 19 years but, despite a big spending summer, they could not claim victory in their opener at the Stade de la Mosson.

Remy Cabella had given the home side the lead after just ten minutes but a second-half goal from Maxwell and the dismissal of Abdelhamid El Kaoutari ensured Laurent Blanc's men did not head back to the capital empty handed.

PSG had the first chance after seven minutes as Lucas Moura free-kick found Ezequiel Lavezzi but his header was blocked by La Paillade goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren. And three minutes later Montpellier had the lead, Zlatan Ibrahimovic lost the ball in midfield and Emmanuel Herrera played an incisive pass to Cabella who broke into the box and fired low past Salvatore Sirigu.

Lucas a menace
Some good work from Christophe Jallet and Lucas nearly had the champions level but when the former found space he could only fire over the bar. Lucas was having a lot of influence in the game and just before the half-hour mark he released Ibrahimovic and the Sweden international brought an impressive save from Jourdren with his long range effort.

Two minutes into the second half and Ibrahimovic had another chance as he fired a free-kick wide of the post but it was Maxwell who was to grab the equaliser. Javier Pastore's cross found Ibrahimovic at the back post and the tall striker's header across goal was tapped in by the Brazilian.

El Kaoutari was then given his marching orders as he received a second booking for a challenge on Pastore. Victor Montano had a chance to grab a winner for Montpellier with ten minutes as he was set up by Cabella but his deft lob drifted over the bar.