Star-struck minnows pay big penalty as PSG cruise in French Cup
Paris Saint-Germain rested superstars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe before defeating sixth-tier Linas-Montlhery 6-0 in the French Cup on Sunday as the amateur side, and self-confessed fans of their monied rivals, were left to rue a missed penalty when trailing just 1-0.
The part-timers, whose budget is 2,000-times smaller than the Qatari-backed Parisian giants, fell behind to a goal on the half-hour by teenager Adil Aouchiche.
However, they were then awarded a penalty after Colin Dagba brought down Issa Cisse.
Up stepped Idrissa Kanoute but his tame spot kick was well-saved by Sergio Rico in the PSG goal.
Less than a minute later, Uruguayan star Edinson Cavani, named captain for the night, tucked away PSG's second and the game was up.
Cavani, starting for the first time in two months, added his second just on the hour mark before Pablo Sarabia (63rd and 70th minutes) and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (87th) completed the rout.
"We played seriously and with humility," said PSG coach Thomas Tuchel.
"We deserved to win, it was a good match for the team and the club and a good start to 2020."
Tuchel was also full of praise for Cavani who has been linked with a winter transfer window move to Atletico Madrid in Spain.
"'Edi' is there to score, that's what we ask him to do. This will give him confidence, that's the best thing."
Linas-Montlhery, where Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele played in his teens, take their name from neighbouring towns in the southern outskirts of Paris.
But their home ground was judged to be too small for Sunday's game which was shifted instead to a 15,000-capacity arena at Bondoufle to the south of the capital.
They are such big fans of PSG that coach Stephane Cabrelli is a season-ticket holder who has been watching their games for the best part of 50 years.
"It was impressive to play against a team of such stars," admitted Linas-Montlhery skipper Johan Roca who spent four years in the PSG youth system from 2000 to 2004.
"We looked them in the eye but felt the gap between us. It was hard physically, tactically, technically.
"Well done to PSG, they respected us and we had a lot of fun."
Andre Villas-Boas' Marseille needed penalties to win away to fourth-tier Trelissac in their last 64 tie.
Lassana Diakhaby and Ange Gnaleko missed the crucial spot kicks for the minnows as the 10-time former winners avoided a second straight cup exit to a side from National 2.
Abdoulaye Diaby scored for the hosts after 20 seconds following a goalkeeping howler by Yohann Pele and France midfielder Dimitri Payet equalised after 20 minutes for the visitors who had Japan right-back Hiroki Sakai sent off in the closing stages of normal time.
"In your worst dreams you don't need to suffer in that way," Villas-Boas said.
"If we had been knocked-out without Sakai and with a humiliation like that, it would have been tough to take," he added.
Pele made up for his early mistake by saving Diakhaby and Gnaleko's efforts before Lucas Perrin slotted the winning penalty.
JS Saint-Pierroise on Saturday became only the second overseas-based team to win a French Cup knockout tie and it was achieved playing more than 9,000km from home.
The club, based on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, and which once boasted the talents of current Marseille star Payet, defeated second-division Niort 2-1.
An overseas side has only once before achieved a similar feat when Geldar FC of French Guiana made the round of 16 in the 1988-1989 season.