Paris win through to final
Despite playing a man down for the final half-hour following the first red card of Kylian Mbappé's career, four-time reigning champions PSG held out for a 3-2 win over Rennes to book a place in a fifth consecutive Coupe de la Ligue final.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Coupe de la Ligue, semi-finals
Roazhon Park, Rennes
Stade Rennais FC 2 - 3 Paris Saint-Germain
Paris Saint-Germain will defend their title against the winner of Monaco and Montpellier after securing a 3-2 win over Stade Rennais FC on Tuesday night, completing a clean sweep in their three visits to Roazhon Park in all competitions this season.
Rennes injected suspense into the clash with two late goals from brand-new signing Diafra Sakho (85') and Sanjin Prcic (90'+2) against ten-man Paris Saint-Germain, but Sabri Lamouchi's men fell short as the ten-man visitors held out to clinch the win 3-2 and stretch their unbeaten run in domestic cup competition to 38 matches.
Thomas Meunier got things started for the holders when his sensational improvised finish looped in at Abdoulaye Diallo's far post (24'), crystallising a strong early period for Paris in the face of Rennes' aggressive pressing game.
That was the only goal of the first half, but PSG captain Marquinhos got his second of the season in all competitions early in the second, the Brazilian in the right spot to tap home after the in-form Angel Di Maria's effort was parried by the home 'keeper (53').
Two goals to the good, Paris' confidence was clear and the visitors began to dominate and it was second-half substitute Giovani Lo Celso who capitalised, the Argentine youngster claiming possession wide on the left of the area and firing a neat shot in off the legs of Diallo to score the first goal of his Paris Saint-Germain career (58').
The match took a turn just after the hour-mark when video refereeing was used when Kylian Mbappé, in for the rested Edinson Cavani, was shown a straight red for his foul on Ismaila Sarr (63').
Just after Rennes captain Benjamin André had an effort ruled out for off-side (84), Diafra Sakho - signed from West Ham on Monday and rushed into the squad - beat Kevin Trapp with a header from a Ludovic Baal free-kick to reduce the deficit (85').
Prcic, who was making his first start since Week 10 of Ligue 1 Conforama, sparked hopes of extra-time with his crisp, low injury-time drive past Trapp, but Paris made good their clean-sweep at Roazhon Park and earned the right to defend their title against either Monaco or Montpellier in the final at Bordeaux's Matmut Atlantique on March 31.
THE PLAYER: Giovani Lo Celso
Subbed on for compatriot Javier Pastore, Lo Celso showed the application and drive in midfield that has seen him earn more game time of late, but this time the youngster capped a strong performance with the goal - his first since joining PSG from Rosario Central a year ago - that turned out to be the winner.
THE STAT: 13
The number of goals Stade Rennais have conceded against PSG in their three meetings - all at Roazhon Park - this season. Their first meeting, in Ligue 1 Conforama's Week 18, ended 4-1 for Paris, while in the Coupe de France round of 64, the capital club followed up with a 6-1 drubbing before winning 3-2 in Wednesday.