PARIS (AFP) - French champions Paris Saint-Germain were hit by an injury crisis on Saturday as they not only saw four players break down but also threw away a 2-0 lead over Caen in a dramatic Ligue 1 2-2 draw.
It was the worst possible preparation for the French champions who await Premier League leaders Chelsea at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 matchup.
Following midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who limped off in the 16th minute, coach Laurent Blanc looked on in horror as Brazilian defender Marquinhos, Ivory Coast international Serge Aurier and Brazilian playmaker Lucas all suffered injuries and had to leave the match.
The late injuries, to newly crowned African champion Aurier and Lucas, meant PSG finished the match with nine men after Blanc had used all of his three substitutes.
"I'm no doctor but, concerning Cabaye and Lucas, it's a muscle injury. For Marquinhos, it's the hamstring. For Aurier, the quadriceps", explained Laurent Blanc.
"They all are muscle injuries. I need to see the seriousness of it all but, for Tuesday's game, it's going to be very, very difficult to have them back."
Blaise Matuidi was also taken off on the hour mark with the midfielder having received a knock on the back of the knee.
"It's more a knick so it's not as worrying. I substituted Blaise to be safe", added Blanc.
The freak scenario in front of a stunned home crowd at the Parc des Princes went from bad to worse when Caen miraculously salvaged a point with two late goals.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi gave PSG what appeared to be a winning advantage after first half goals but Caen, who began the day four points above the relegation zone, were given a lifeline on 89 minutes when Emiliano Sala scrambled home from inside the box.
Then deep into injury time, following a foul by Ibrahimovic, Herve Blazile curled a left-foot free kick into the top corner leaving PSG and their watching faithful in shock.
"If someone had told me this is how it would after 20 minutes played, I wouldn't have believed him. Then it started with Cabaye and bad news just kept coming in: another one at half-time, then two others in the second half," the PSG coach told the press.
"But the worst news is losing two points we were holding in our hands. We couldn't keep a hold on those two points. I had never witnessed such a scenario. It was just abnormal, even for those who have a lot of experience."
Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea side are enjoying a weekend off, after being knocked out of the FA Cup in the previous round, but will have looked on with great interest at what was happening on a rainy Saturday in Paris.
The teams also met last season when PSG won 3-1 at the Parc des Princes in the first match only to be eliminated when Demba Ba gave Chelsea a late 2-0 victory in the second leg, sending the Londoners through on away goals.
The point against Caen keeps the capital club level with Marseille, who drew 2-2 on Friday at home to Reims, while leaders Lyon can extend their one point advantage at the top when they travel to Lorient as one of three Sunday fixtures.
There is also a busy slate later on Saturday with Toulouse hosting Rennes in a key tie at the bottom while Lille entertain Nice.
Monaco were meant to face Montpellier at home on Saturday but the game was postonned due to heavy rain.