Home comfort as PSG make final
PSG book a place in the French League Cup Final with a 3-2 win over Auxerre at the Parc des Princes. The capital side led throughout and will now play in their 13th domestic final.
League Cup, Semi-Final
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Parc des Princes
Yepes 31, Pauleta 44, Mendy 79
Landreau 74 (og), Quercia 90
PSG qualified for their fourth League Cup Final in 14 years with a 3-2 win over Auxerre in the first semi-final.
Goals from Mario Yepes, Pauleta and Bernard Mendy ensured a place in the final after AJA could only manage a late Julien Quercia effort and a helping hand from PSG 'keeper Mickael Landreau.
The capital side will now face Lens at the Stade de France on March 29, and can look forward to a first domestic cup final since 2006 when they beat bitter rivals Marseille 2-1 in the French Cup final.
Paul Le Guen's side dominated the game's opening half an hour giving no indication of their league position, four points and four places below AJA. And Yepes sent PSG on their way in the 31st minute with a header after the visitors had failed to clear their lines from a corner.
Kenyan Dennis Oliech whizzed a shot wide of Landreau's post as Auxerre attempted a reply but PSG extended their lead with ease four minutes before half-time with Pauleta latching on to a simple Grégory Bourillon cross. It was the Portuguese striker's 23rd cup goal in 24 matches, a fine and unrivalled statistic.
With five goals in their last three league games, Auxerre were always capable of posing a threat in front of goal but it took them until the 71st minute to worry Landreau with the Romanian Daniel Niculae thrashing a shot which the 'keeper saved well.
If the former Nantes guardian covered himself in glory with that stop he will want to look away when the highlights are replayed as from a corner taken shortly after the French 'B' 'keeper contrived to palm the ball into his own net.
The freak goal gave Auxerre a lifeline but PSG did well to save Landreau's blushes by restoring their two goal advantage within five minutes, Mendy confusing Grichting on the edge of the box before shooting past Riou for number three.
Quercia handed the scoreline some respectability with a smart scissor-kick in the 90th minute but it was too little to late by Jean Fernandez's men.
The Parc de Princes exploded with joy at the final whistle and although the supporters know that their side hang perilously near the drop zone in Ligue 1, a date at the Stade de France and a chance to win some precious silverware awaits