PSG, Monaco advance to French Cup quarterfinals
PARIS (AP) — Monaco finally found some attacking verve to defeat Rennes 3-1 and reach the quarterfinals of the French Cup on Wednesday while Paris Saint-Germain geared up for its Champions League match against Chelsea with a 2-0 win over Nantes.
Early goals from Edinson Cavani and Yohan Cabaye ensured PSG’s progression in the competition as the French champion hit form ahead of hosting Chelsea in the last 16 of Europe’s top club competition.
Following a series of disappointing results either side of the Christmas break, Laurent Blanc’s side is now unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions. PSG has one more match to play this weekend in the French league against Caen before hosting the Blues for a second straight season.
Blanc rested Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva against Nantes, giving Cavani the main striker’s role. The Uruguay forward repaid his coach’s faith with a strong performance capped by a header from David Luiz’s free kick to break the deadlock in the 19th minute. Cabaye then made the most of keeper Maxime Dupe’s poor clearance to double PSG’s lead from the edge of the box.
Monaco, which faces Arsenal in the Champions League, has been struggling in front of goal this season, with Leonardo Jardim’s side scoring just 25 goals in 24 league games. But after two consecutive losses in all competitions, Monaco was more efficient on Wednesday and quickly took control of the game with goals from Almamy Toure and Wallace giving it a 2-0 lead after 11 minutes.
Rennes pulled one back courtesy of Pedro Henrique’s header in the 34th before striker Anthony Martial sealed Monaco’s win from the penalty spot in the second half after Swiss midfielder Gelson Fernandes fouled him in the area.
Monaco remains in the hunt for three trophies this season while PSG can still hope for an historic quadruple.
Holders Guingamp also progressed to the quarterfinals with a 3-1 win after extra time at fourth-division Yzeure.