Paris-Saint Germain FC missed out on top place in Champions League Group F and Helsingborgs IF a place in the UEFA Cup, as the two sides drew in Sweden.
Nicolas Anelka put PSG ahead 11 minutes before half-time but the home side delighted their fans at the Olympia Stadium by battling back to claim a deserved equaliser, which was expertly dispatched by Nicklas Persson.
Fourth time lucky
Anelka missed three excellent opportunities before putting PSG ahead in the 34th minute. Laurent Robert's chip released the French international striker, who after touching the ball over advancing goalkeeper Sven Andersson had the simple task of heading his fourth goal in six matches into the net.
As early as the 8th minute, Anelka might have opened the scoring following a long ball by Robert. He managed to beat the offside trap but in attempting to steer the ball past Andersson, succeeded only in shinning it straight at the Helsingborg custodian.
Anelka connected more firmly when put through on goal again 10 minutes later but the result was the same, with the ball hitting Andersson when it ought to have hit the net.
And the former Arsenal striker was guilty of another appalling blunder in front of goal when after playing a one-two with Augustine Okocha to again leave himself with just the keeper to beat, he sliced a right-footed volley wide of the near post.
Not that Anelka was alone in missing chances in a first-half packed full of them. Helsingborg striker Rade Prica should have put his side ahead on 17 minutes when he fired over after escaping the clutches of the PSG defence.
Just two minutes after Anelka’s goal put PSG in the driving seat, Brazilian Alvaro Santos squandered a golden chance to equalise by shooting straight at goalkeeper Lionel Letizi after turning away from Michael Hansson’s challenge.
In the dying moments of a thrilling first period, Alvaro somewhat atoned for his terrible miss with a fine piece of skill on the right which enabled him to cross for Prica, whose header beat Letizi but was cleared off the line by PSG captain Eric Rabesandratana.
Even trailing at the start of the second-half, the home side had no reason to doubt that they could find a way back into the match. They had created their fair share of chances and carved PSG open again on 53 minutes, when substitute Hans Eklund fired over after more good work on the right by Alvaro Santos.
Helsingborg’s equaliser, which arrived in the 70th minute, was richly deserved. When Pierre Ducrocq failed to head Alvaro’s free-kick away with any real purpose, Persson was lurking near the edge of the penalty area and his driven shot into the bottom corner of the net gave Letizi absolutely no chance.
Worse almost followed for Phillipe Bergeroo's side when Johansen’s close range shot was palmed away by Letizi, who was then relieved to see Erik Wahstedht’s effort go just over his crossbar.
PSG almost claimed a late winner through Laurent Leroy, who after receiving Edouard Cisse’s ball wriggled away from Roland Nilsson and saw his shot-on-the-turn blocked by the legs of Andersson.
That would have given PSG a victory they did not deserve. Nanne Bergstrand’s spirited team, having suffered a 6-1 mauling at the hands of Scandinavian rivals Rosenborg BK earlier in the competition, recovered admirably from that utter humiliation and now bow out of the Champions League with their heads held high.