Paris Saint-Germain are through to the last-four of the Coupe de la Ligue after a 2-1 victory over Olympique Lyonnais last night. The holders took the lead in the 17th minute through Adrien Rabiot before being pegged back minutes before the interval thanks to Corentin Tolisso. The winner came in the 73rd minute via Lucas Moura and sets up a semi-final meeting with Toulouse.
Coach Laurent Blanc said prior to the game he was going to mix things up and that’s exactly what he did. In came the likes of Salvatore Sirigu, Layvin Kurzawa, Marquinhos, Benjamin Stambouli and Gregory Van der Wiel. Javier Pastore started his first game since the 17th October, completing over 80 minutes. The Argentine was excellent, showing no signs of rustiness. The capital’s daily Le Parisien were high in their praise for the number 27, giving him the highest score of seven.
Someone they did not praise as much was Edinson Cavani who was only given a rating of four. The striker has been in the headlines this week for his behaviour after Laurent Blanc had a team meeting discussing a range of topics, including the Uruguayan. LB played the meeting down saying there is no problem but this came off the back of a report in L’Equipe saying that the player has grown tired of his role in the team.
This is the main issue, and has been ever since he signed for the club quite frankly. The coach did acknowledge this in his pre-match presser by saying; “Our system does not allow Cavani to show his qualities at 100 per cent, and yet his statistics are good. I can imagine that Cavani wants us to play differently but I also have a group to satisfy. I have a great trust and admiration for Edi. But, tfootball is a team sport. The results are good and the majority of the players love the way we play. It’s hard to have a change of tactics for one player, we have the results and the play fits my philosophy.”
Of course, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s future becomes clearer this the summer, as will Edi’s.
Back to the game, we were up against a Lyon side that rung the changes too. Star man Alexandre Lacazette started the game on the bench before coming on as a late substitute.
Our opening goal came from Rabiot in what was one of the craziest, scrappiest goals you are likely to see. Credit to the Frenchman for his persistence in a sea of white shirts to somehow prod the ball past Mathieu Gorgelin who stood in for number one choice Anthony Lopes. His deputy did not cover himself in glory to be honest. It was a comedy of errors but the goal shouldn’t have stood as replays showed that the ball had gone out of play in the build-up. This was something that of course irked their president Jean-Michel Aulas.
The visitors pegged us back to make it 1-1 but the winner came thanks to two substitutes; Angel di Maria and Lucas. ADM is getting better and better in this Paris team and he conjured up another assist. He sprinted from his own area with the ball to orchestrate a counter-attack before squaring to the Brazilian for an easy tap in. That is now 12 assists for Di Maria who in fantastic form at the moment.
The win sets up a date with Toulouse who we are unbeaten against in 13 meetings. History is certainly on our side!