PSG make progress at Strasbourg's expense

Coupe de la Ligue

Angel Di Maria found the net as Paris Saint-Germain started their Coupe de la Ligue defence with a bang, securing a 4-1 win at RC Strasbourg Alsace on Wednesday.

 RC Strasbourg Alsace 2-4 Paris Saint-Germain 

Paris had arrived at the Stade de la Meinau earlier in the month and surprisingly fell to their first defeat of the 2017-18 campaign, but Unai Emery's men - the four-time defending champions - did not make the same mistake twice.

Alexandre Oukidja (3') and Kevin Trapp (9) exchanged saves before PSG moved ahead. Giovani Lo Celso's cute backheel found Julian Draxler who then passed to Di Maria - his cross took a wicked bounce before Yoann Salmier attempted to clear and only managed to screw the ball into his own net (13').

Di Maria was again involved as PSG doubled their lead on 25 minutes. The Argentine combined with compatriot Javier Pastore down the left — the latter's cross was too long for Di Maria, but when Oukidja fumbled, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid man fired home the loose ball (25').

Edinson Cavani fired narrowly wide (29') before Strasbourg clawed their way back into the game. Anthony Gonçalves had been attempting to volley goalwards, but instead succeeded only in picking out Jérémy Grimm, who chested down before sending a right-foot shot past Trapp (36').

Meunier at work

Both teams had opportunities to add to the scoreline before Dani Alves ensured there was little hope Strasbourg would triumph again. Thomas Meunier, who started on the left due to a litany of injuries and suspensions, began and all but ended the move that led to the third with the Belgium international full-back teeing up his Brazilian team-mate (62').

Landry Bonnefoi was called upon to replace Oukidja soon after, but did not escape having to pick the ball out of his net. Meunier again was the provider, this time linking up with Lo Celso before cutting the ball back to a grateful Draxler (78').

Kylian Mbappé grazed a post with a shot (85') before Jérémy Blayac reduced the hosts' arrears, saving face if not their place in the next round.

THE PLAYER: Thomas Meunier
The right-back has proven a surprisingly useful addition to the PSG squad, and did so again, giving coach Emery a greater headache when having to decide if he or Dani Alves should play.

Winners the last four seasons, PSG have now triumphed in 17 successive Coupe de la Ligue ties.

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