The domestic treble is becoming more and more of a realistic dream as Paris Saint-Germain booked a place in the quarter-final of the Coupe de France last night with a comfortable 2-0 victory over FC Nantes.
Goals from Edinson Cavani and Yohan Cabaye in the first-half practically ended the game as a contest with the champions easing into the last-eight where they will now face the side from the principality, AS Monaco at the Parc des Princes at the beginning of March.
With Caen coming up at the weekend just before that massive game on Tuesday at home to Chelsea, Laurent Blanc made a number of changes. With Thiago Silva out, Marquinhos was ushered into the centre of defence alongside David Luiz which meant Gregory Van der Wiel came back in at right-back. It was the Dutchman’s first start since the 4-2 win over Evian on the 18th January where he scored an own-goal – and a week before that conceded a penalty in the 4-2 defeat in Bastia.
Lucas Digne was at left-back in place of Maxwell and there were two changes in central midfield. Compatriots Adrien Rabiot and Yohan Cabaye supported the skipper for the night Thiago Motta.
Then in the three-man attack you had Jean-Christophe Bahebeck, Ezequiel Lavezzi and the man leading the line in his preferred central position, Edinson Cavani. Much of the talk in the build-up to the game was regarding Edi with his coach giving him a show of public support in the wake of his performance in Lyon. Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was sitting on the bench witnessed the Matador open the scoring in the 18th minute and what a way to dispel the criticism he has received in recent days.
The Uruguayan showed tremendous movement to peel away from his marker and head home a David Luiz freekick. The centre-back – whether it was intentional is debatable – fizzed the ball in from distance and there was the number nine to glance the ball into the net with his head.
Quarter of an hour later, it was 2-0. Les Canaris goalkeeper Maxime Dupe played a massive hand in this quite literally as he punched a cross directly into the path of Cabaye who finished with aplomb. The former Newcastle United man had to come off at half-time for Marco Verratti due to a problem with his adductor according to Le Parisien
That literally killed the game off as whole. After the interval we were in total control and the match was more like an exhibition than a cup tie. I expected more from FCN but we were resolute. It was an extremely professional performance and one Blanc will be thrilled over. We did not make any costly mistakes to make life difficult for ourselves. We simply got the job done!
The night though belonged to Cavani. The supporters at the Parc chanted his name before kick-off and he treated them with a goal. It is a one he needed! Blanc said that the striker needed help and the faith shown in him by the coach was rewarded with a crucial header to set us on our way.
All in all, a good night’s work for Les Parisiens!