Guingamp silence Paris
By S. Willis
EA Guingamp pulled off the upset of the season so far by eliminating five-time reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain from the Coupe de la Ligue on Wednesday, Marcus Thuram's last-gasp penalty sealing the shock 2-1 win.
Wednesday, 9 January 2019
Coupe de la Ligue, quarter-finals
Parc des Princes, Paris
Paris Saint-Germain 1 - 2 EA Guingamp
Although Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel opted to start several of his recently returned internationals - such as Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria - the hosts couldn't turn their domination of play into goals and Guingamp took advantage, striking twice from the spot to clinch the biggest upset of the season so far.
Kylian Mbappé fired against the post as early as the sixth minute, but with Guingamp playing deep and compact, there were few other clear-cut chances for either side before the break. This prompted Tuchel to ring the changes, bringing on Edinson Cavani and Marco Verratti at half-time, but it was Guingamp who threatened first.
Neymar on point
The visitors had brown in confidence and started to push forward on the counter, and when Thomas Meunier brought down Ludovic Blas in the area, referee Benoît Bastien awarded the spot kick. However this wasn't the opportunity Guingamp had hoped; Marcus Thuram fluffed his lines from the spot (61') and within a minute, Neymar had put Paris Saint-Germain ahead by nodding home Meunier's cross at the far post (63').
The drama didn't end there, however. As Guingamp continued to pressure the capital club, Juan Bernat gave away a penalty for a foul on Marcus Coco, and this time it was Yeni Ngbakoto who stepped up to the spot, making no mistake and firing past Alphonse Areola with ease (81').
Thuram strikes back
And it was a case of rinse and repeat as Guingamp continued to defend deep and hit on the counter as the minutes ticked down and a penalty shoot-out looked likely. But when Thuram was fouled by Thilo Kehrer just inside the area - two minutes into injury time - he picked himself up and utterly redeemed his earlier miss with hard, low shot under Areola to silence the Parc des Princes and clinch the upset - but far from undeserved - win for Guingamp.
THE PLAYER: Marcus Thuram
The 21-year-old striker is proving crucial as Guingamp push to salvage their season under new boss Jocelyn Gourvennec. Despite having sat at the foot of the Ligue 1 Conforama table since Week 3, the Brittany club are now in to the Coupe de la Ligue semis - thanks to Thuram's winner - and the Coupe de France last 32, Thuram's second-half brace having seen his side through in a tricky round of 64 trip to fifth-division Pontivy Stade on Saturday. Easily the club's top scorer with seven goals, Thuram also struck in the crucial 2-0 win over direct relegation rivals Monaco in Ligue 1 Conforama in Week 19.
THE STAT: 44
Before this last-gasp defat to Guingamp, Paris Saint-Germain had gone 21 matches without defeat in the Coupe de la Ligue as they racked up five successive titles. Their last defeat in the competition dates back to November 2012, when they lost 5-3 on penalties to Saint-Etienne. However, Wednesday's defeat also broke a winning run of 44 matches in domestic cup competitions, as Paris are also four-time reigning holders of the Coupe de France, currently on a run of 25-straight wins. The loss was also the first in domestic competition under Tuchel, and just Paris Saint-Germain's second of the season in all competitions.