PSG taken to extra time in French Cup by third-tier side
PARIS (AP) — A week before facing Manchester United in the Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain needed extra time to see off a struggling third-tier side in the French Cup.
PSG beat lowly Villefranche-Beaujolais 3-0 to reach the quarterfinals of the competition it has won for the past four seasons. Germany winger Julian Draxler netted in the 102nd minute after being set up by striker Edinson Cavani.
PSG’s players celebrated the first goal with relief, on a night when coach Thomas Tuchel was sent to the stands in the 72nd minute for arguing with officials following a challenge on midfielder Leandro Paredes.
Villefranche-Beaujolais is a semi-professional side in 13th place in the third tier of French soccer, and has scored only 17 goals in 19 league games this season. By comparison, runaway league leader PSG has netted 67 in 21 top-flight games.
But PSG, which lost its first league game of the season away to Lyon on Sunday , could not find a way past goalkeeper Antoine Philippon, who is not even first choice. He made fine stops to deny Cavani and Mbappe, who cost PSG a combined 223 million euros ($253 million) in transfer fees.
Paredes started his first game for PSG after joining from Zenit St. Petersburg last week and striker Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting made a rare start.
Neither made an impact.
Despite resuming training this week, midfielder Marco Verratti was absent as he continues to recover from a sprained ankle. It means Verratti only has one more game — at home to Bordeaux on Saturday — before PSG travels to United for the first leg of their last-16 game next Tuesday.
“He wasn’t able to finish training yesterday (on Tuesday),” Tuchel said. “He had a small problem. We will wait until the day after tomorrow (Friday) to see if he can play a few minutes against Bordeaux.”
Asked if it was a recurrence of his ankle problem, Tuchel replied: “No, it’s something else, I’m not really sure.”
A resurgent United, which has midfield star Paul Pogba in dominant form once again, has not lost since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho in December.
Also Wednesday, forward Jordan Siebatcheu scored his second goal during injury time as Rennes beat Lille 2-1 to reach the last eight. Lille played with 10 men after defender Adama Soumaoro’s 19th-minute sending off and equalized midway through the second half through leading scorer Nicolas Pepe.