Paris Saint-Germain won their third consecutive Coupe de la Ligue title with a narrow 2-1 victory over Lille OSC at the Stade de France on Saturday. The win brings Les Parisiens‘ league cup total to six, making them the most successful team in the history of the competition.
PSG were led by the Argentinian duo of Angel Di Maria and Javier Pastore but both can credit their goals to poor officiating and a bit of luck. El Flaco‘s goal in the 40th minute went through the legs of Layvin Kurzawa, who was standing offside on the goal line impeding Lille goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama from making the save. The goal should have been disallowed but Paris went into halftime with the lead.
Lille tied the game at 1-1 in the 49th minute thanks to Djibril Sidibe’s free kick and a poor PSG wall that parted like the Red Sea. It was a deserved goal for Frederic Antonetti’s team who outplayed Paris for stretches of the game and recorded 14 total shots, one less than the French champions.
Lille received another boost when Adrien Rabiot received his second caution of the game and was dismissed. The table was set for an upset but Di Maria would have none of it. In the 74th minute, El Fideo rushed onto Adama Soumaoro’s headed back pass and with Enyeama way off his line, Di Maria got just enough on his shot to score the winning goal.
It was far from a dominating performance from the capital club but there were some bright spots in the squad along with one rather forgettable performance. Here is my “Good & Bad” from PSG vs. Lille.
Pastore in the starting lineup was a surprise to many supporters but a welcomed one. The former Palermo man added some much needed creativity to what has been a completely flat midfield without Italian maestro Marco Verratti. While his goal was controversial, take nothing away from the strike. Kurzawa’s header lofted the ball outside Enyeama’s box and Pastore volleyed his shot on target. It was an extremely difficult bit of skill and El Flaco made it look incredibly easy. His twists and turns throughout the game had Lille midfielders on the run and his pinpoint passing caused trouble for Les Dogues defense. Pastore earned a 7.7 rating per whoscored.com and was crucial in helping PSG keep the ball, which proved more difficult than usual as the French champions only had 53 percent of possession. Argentina manager Gerardo Martino will be keen to see more of the playmaker the rest of the season as he prepares his team for this year’s Copa América.
Angel Di Maria
The former Manchester United man had been struggling in recent games and failed to help an injury-stricken PSG—most notably against Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League. Against Lille though, the Argentina international was back to his old tricks leading the Parisian attack with a goal and five key passes. His 8.6 rating per whoscored.com earned him Man of the Match. With only one important game remaining for PSG (Coupe de France final against Olympique Marseille on May 21), Di Maria must remain in form if the club hope to repeat their domestic sweep.
With fitness problems haunting the Paris midfield, last season’s super-sub Adrien Rabiot has featured more in the starting lineup. The young Frenchman has been shaky at times but overall, you have to say he’s much improved this season. Against Lille though, the 21-year-old struggled. His slow passing was routinely intercepted by a high-pressing line and Sofiane Boufal’s pace proved too much for Rabiot—leaving Serge Aurier one-on-one with the speedy Moroccan. Rabiot’s tackle in the 70th minute on Boufal was the most egregious of all his errors though. Already on a caution, Rabiot’s unnecessary challenge earned him a second yellow and he was sent off for the second time this season against Lille. At such a young age, mistakes are bound to happen but to have the second lowest rating in the entire field (5.4) is unacceptable in a cup final. This type of performance is what has made Rabiot a contentious figure at the Parc and not the type of player you want to become captain, which club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said the Frenchman would do one day.
Up next for Paris Saint-Germain is Stade Rennais F.C. this Friday at the Parc des Princes.