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PSG out to clear Caen hurdle en route to Coupe

Publish on 18/04/2018 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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Paris Saint-Germain will seek to take the penultimate step towards completing a domestic quadruple when they face SM Caen in Wednesday's Coupe de France semi-final.

Wednesday, 17 April, 2018

Coupe de France semi-finals

Stade Michel d'Ornano

 SM Caen - Paris Saint-Germain Logo Paris Saint-Germain

Last weekend's 7-1 rout of 2016/17 Ligue 1 Conforama champions AS Monaco clinched the league title for Unai Emery's men, who have already claimed the Trophée des Champions and Coupe de la Ligue — both by also beating Monaco — this term.

With third-tier amateur outfit Les Herbiers waiting in the final at the Stade de France, PSG are odds-on to lift a fourth trophy of the season, but fellow top-flight side Caen will not be overcome easily.

"It's the Coupe de France and we have a lot of respect for this competition. We want to reach the final at the Stade de France, with our supporters, and a sell-out crowd. We also have a lot of respect for Caen. This match is also a great opportunity for them. They deserve their place in the semi-final, especially after eliminating Lyon," explained Emery. "I'm sure that they will give it everything on Wednesday. It's the match of the season for them. Along with their fans, they will be giving it more than 100% to beat us. We will need to stay focused."

Marco Verratti will miss the game as he continues working back to full fitness, while Neymar Jr is unlikely to return from his fractured foot until just before the end of the domestic campaign.

That could mean he is still sidelined should PSG get the opportunity to attempt to make French football history by winning a fourth successive Coupe de France at the Stade de France on 8 May. Emery is aware his team face a potential banana skin in Normandy though.

Emery: 'Respect every opponent'

"We want to avoid a nasty surprise. We want to be focused, maintain our standard of play and win. If we qualify for the final, we will be playing against the side that deserves it the most. We respect every opponent. Last season we were able to overtake Marseille as the most successful club in the competition's history with our 11th win. Last Sunday, when we won the league, we just had a little celebration because we want to be ready and motivated for the semi-final."

Caen's concerns in the league are with avoiding the drop this season, but Patrice Garande's men have been able to impressively shake off their week-to-week worries with impressive displays in the Coupe de France.

Olympique Lyonnais were beaten at the Stade Michel d'Ornano in the last round, and the man who scored the late winner against OL, Ismaël Diomandé, is hopeful of another upset.

"We're not going to say it's impossible, but anything is possible in a cup game, especially at home. When you look at their performances in the league, it's going to be very difficult. After being knocked out of the Champions League, they're going to want to win everything in France," the former AS Saint-Etienne defender said.

"If they had still be in Europe, things might have been different. But we're not going to give up. Technically, they're a cut above. It's up to us to show more desire, be more aggressive while also remembering to play our game. That's the only way we can hope to get a positive result against them. We're not going to feel any pressure. We're not favourites. We have nothing to lose and everything to win."

Probable teams

Caen: Samba; Genevois, Da Silva, Djiku, Avounou; Sankoh; Rodelin, Féret (c), Deminguet, Bessat; Crivelli

PSG: Trapp; Meunier, Thiago Silva (c), Kimpembe, Berchiche; Lo Celso, Thiago Motta, Rabiot; Mbappé, Cavani, Di Maria