Holders PSG ease into last eight
By A. Scott
A brace by Lucas Moura and a Jesé Rodríguez effort gave holders Paris Saint-Germain a 3-1 victory over LOSC on Wednesday in a repeat of last season's final in the Coupe de la Ligue.
Lucas opened the scoring from the penalty spot two minutes before the interval and the same player doubled the hosts' lead early in the second half with Jesé making sure of a morale-boosting win for PSG, their first in four outings, that keeps them on course to win the competition for a fourth season running. Marko Basa got a late consolation for Lille.
Both coaches used the occasion to rotate their squads at the Parc des Princes, with Unai Emery making eight changes to the PSG side from their 2-2 weekend draw against OGC Nice in Ligue 1. Only Marquinhos, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Marco Verratti kept their places at kick-off, as 19-year-old Christoper Nkunku and Jesé both made just their second starts this season.
Lille interim coach Patrick Collot made five changes to his improving team and set out with three central defenders in a bid to contain the capital side's attack. Paris were the more dangerous of the two sides, however, threatening first when Lucas saw his shot turned over by Mike Maignan after good play by Krychowiak.
Maignan, making his first start since October last year, also did well to save a powerful long-range attempt by Nkunku while a crucial block by Renato Civelli prevented Jean-Kévin Augustin from scoring after Maignan had denied Lucas.
Paris eventually got the breakthrough with half-time approaching when Maignan, who began his career with PSG, was penalised for bringing down Augustin inside the area and Lucas stepped up to score the resulting penalty. Lille's resistance had lasted 43 minutes.
The visitors had also lost Nicolas De Préville to injury in the first half and things did not get any better for them after the restart.
Nkunku cut in from the left and unleashed a vicious right-foot shot from just outside the box that crashed off the junction of bar and post, and he then claimed an assist when his low ball in from the right was converted at the back post by Lucas on 57 minutes. It was the Brazilian's ninth goal of the campaign in all competitions.
Jesé then ran through to make it three with just his second goal in Paris colours midway through the second period. There was to be no clean sheet for PSG, though, as Basa headed a corner from his fellow substitute Naïm Sliti past Kevin Trapp with just a minute left to make it 3-1.
THE PLAYER: Christopher Nkunku
One of four academy graduates to feature on the night for PSG, the 19-year-old displayed all the attributes required to become a real star. Unlucky not to score with an effort that smashed against the frame of the goal, he claimed an assist for Lucas' second of the night.
THE STAT: 13
PSG have now won 13 consecutive ties in the competition. They have not lost in 90 minutes in the Coupe de la Ligue since October 2011.