PSG won its first trophy of the season, but the 4-1 French League Cup final win over Monaco meant much more than that. The nature of the triumph, the score, the quality of the goals and the general performance all pointed to a positive future for this team–and gave further evidence that the Champions League collapse to Barcelona to last month might have been a blip rather than a sign of permanent decline.
This was a more important League Cup final than the last three, which PSG had also won. For starters, it was against Monaco, the Ligue 1 leader and, for much of the season, the best team in France. A Monaco victory would have confirmed its status and sent PSG back into crisis mode. The team was “on the edge of the abyss,” according to So Foot’s Nicolas Jucha. Instead, PSG can look forward to the future with some hope for renewal. It’s not too late to overtake Monaco at the top of the table.
Angel di Maria was outstanding in the No. 10 role–just weeks after Javier Pastore had laid claim to it himself–and the Argentine scored one goal and played a key part in two more in his man-of-the-match performance. Edinson Cavani scored two superb goals, one of them an exquisite volley from Marco Verratti’s outside-of-the-boot pass to take his total to 40 goals in as many games this season.
The question to come out of the game is what effect this will have on a young Monaco side still looking for its first trophy since 2003. Will it have a psychological impact on the title race, turning the momentum the way of the more experienced winners of PSG? Monaco is still three points clear but its biggest test remains in the next few months.
That first trophy in 14 years is not yet in its grasp.