Bar a jittery 10-minute period in the second-half, Paris Saint-Germain coasted into the last-16 of the Coupe de France with a 2-1 victory over Bordeaux last night. Laurent Blanc’s hoodoo over his former club continues as that is now six wins out of six in all competeions since he took over!
Goals from Edinson Cavani and Javier Pastore in the first-half ensured our passage into the next round. Diego Rolan did net within a minute of the second-half which was the visitor’s first real attempt on goal. However, even when Zoumana Camara was red carded in the 83rd minute, we were in control and never felt vulnerable to conceding a late equaliser.
Laurent Blanc freshened things up and by doing so it galvanised the team. Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi started their first game of 2015. Camara came in for David Luiz who was rested as Marquinhos filled in at right-back. Yohan Cabaye was given the anchor role in the three man midfield alongside Adrien Rabiot and Javier Pastore. Jean-Christophe Bahebeck also got some much needed playing time with a starting place on the right-hand side of Cavani. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was rested which was no real surprise as the coach hinted at this during his pre-match presser.
Chances were far and far between early on. The skipper Thiago Silva went close with a header from a corner as he ran towards the near post. Normally a ploy adopted by Cavani.
It did not take the Uruguayan long to get in on the act as he opened the scoring with an expertly timed header from a Lucas Digne cross. Credit to Cabaye who played a diagonal ball to his compatriot who equalled it with a delicious whipped cross for El Matador to head past Cedric Carrasso.
Cavani was terrific all game. You could sense that he was trying to make amends for all the silliness that transpired with his no-show in Marrakech at the back end of last month. He put in a shift, got a goal and also undertook his defensive responsibilities to a tee. Since he came back against Evian last Sunday, he has netted two goals in around 30 minutes of play. He is certainly endearing himself again to the Parisian faithful.
Another man with some making up to do was Lavezzi and he was involved in the second goal just after the half-hour mark. Gregory Sertic was dispossessed by Pastore in the middle of the park with the ball breaking to Cavani who then bore in towards the final third. He played in El Pocho whose shot was saved but his compatriot was there to tuck home the rebound. We were coasting!
But, as PSG tend to do we lost concentration as the second-half kicked off. Unbelievable really when you consider how comfortable we were in that opening 45 minutes, for us to then concede a goal so early on after the interval. It was Rolan with a lovely finish as the ball broke to him in the box but Monsieur Blanc could hardly believe it.
Staggeringly, they could – and probably should – have equalised. Rolan was clean through on goal but strangely decided to cut back and try to shoot on his left foot. Had he just took a swipe when he had the chance, Willy Sagnol’s men could have caused a right old stir in the capital.
Thankfully we weathered the storm and ended up coasting to victory. Nicolas Douchez did not have too much to fret about, even when Camara was dismissed for two late tackles on substitute Enzo Crivelli.
All in all, a very good nights work from the champions. The fresh legs and minds helped massively. We looked sharp at times, particularly in the first-half. The biggest positives were the re-emergence of Cavani who has shown in the last 110 minutes or so of football this week that he has a lot to offer. His future will be continually questioned but if he continues to play with that sort of attitude, then it is a win, win situation!
Also, Yohan Cabaye. He controlled the midfield for the 85 minutes he was on the pitch. Certainly one of his best performances in a PSG shirt and it does pose the question of whether he can actually fill that Thiago Motta role. The range of passing was diverse and it contributed to some real good spells of play. Definite food for thought for the coach over the next few weeks perhaps.
The draw for the next round will occur tonight after the Rennes vs Stade de Reims game.