Berbatov fires Monaco to Coupe de la Ligue semifinals over Guingamp
Veteran forward Dimitar Berbatov and substitute Anthony Martial scored in each half as Monaco beat 10-man Guingamp 2-0 to reach the League Cup semifinals on Wednesday.
Monaco won the League Cup in 2003 and – aside from the second division title two seasons ago – has not won a trophy since.
In the semifinals, coach Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco faces Paris Saint-Germain, Bastia or Lille – which easily beat Nantes 2-0 at home in Wednesday’s other quarterfinal.
Monaco took the lead in the eighth minute when Belgian winger Yannick Ferreira Carrasco burst down the left, beat defender Lars Jacobsen and crossed to the back post, where Berbatov was left unmarked to head home his sixth goal of the season.
Monaco extended its unbeaten run to nine games, during which it has kept eight clean sheets.
”It was very difficult match, as we expected it to be,” Monaco left back Layvin Kurzawa said. ”Once again we didn’t concede a goal, so that will keep everyone happy.”
After missing several chances, Guingamp was reduced to 10 men in the 36th when midfielder Christophe Mandanne was shown a straight red card for shoving over defender Ricardo Carvalho, who rolled around theatrically.
”Even with 10 men we weren’t tired and we forced Monaco to defend. We played very well with 10 men, in terms our team spirit and our organization,” Guingamp coach Jocelyn Gourvennec said. ”From where I was (the sending off) was very harsh.”
Guingamp’s players were angered that Kurzawa did not even get booked when, early in the second half, he went to clear a high ball and instead kicked forward Claudio Beauvue in the head. After lying on the ground for a few moments, Beauvue was able to carry on playing.
The 33-year-old Berbatov should have made it 2-0 in the 65th when Bernardo Silva’s pass put him clean through, but Bulgaria’s all-time leading scorer casually flicked his shot straight at goalkeeper Jonas Lossl.
Guingamp midfielder Thibault Giresse headed wide from a good position in the 79th, and Martial tapped in from close range with the last kick of the game after a shot that Lossl could only parry presented him with an open goal.
In the night’s other match, Lille took control thanks to a superb ninth-minute goal from right back Sebastien Corchia, who picked up on a loose clearance some 25 meters out and hit a dipping, first-time shot into the top right corner.
After Corchia was fouled some 25 meters out, Danish defender Simon Kjaer curled a free kick over the Nantes wall and past goalie Remy Riou to make it 2-0 in the 69th.
Paris Saint-Germain won 1-0 at Saint-Etienne and Bastia beat Rennes 3-1 on Tuesday.