Angel Di Maria kept 10-man Paris Saint-Germain on course to defend their domestic treble by scoring decisively to sink Lille 2-1 in Saturday’s Coupe de la Ligue final.
PSG led in the 40th minute despite suspicions of offside surrounding Javier Pastore’s strike but Djibril Sidibe’s free-kick levelled matters early in the second period.
Despite having a fourth consecutive Ligue 1 title safely in their possession, Laurent Blanc’s side have attracted no shortage of criticism since their Champions League quarter-final exit against Manchester City, and the pressure began to show during a disjointed second-half display.
Their task became tougher when Adrien Rabiot collected his second yellow card with 20 minutes remaining, but Di Maria capitalised on an erratic piece of judgement from Lille goalkeeper Victor Enyeama to guide the ball home from 30 yards.
Blanc and his players celebrated with justifiable delight after overcoming the odds and they will have the chance to repeat last season’s historic feat in the Coupe de France final against Marseille next month
PSG almost went ahead inside the opening minute, with Di Maria steering Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s cutback too close to Enyeama from 10 yards.
Salvatore Sirigu, recalled once more for cup action by Blanc, saved well when a shot ricocheted off Marquinhos – preferred to David Luiz at centre-back – and towards his bottom corner before Morgan Amalfitano blasted into the side-netting.
PSG gradually increased the pressure and Marko Basa made an excellent last-ditch challenge to deny Lucas Moura, but the breakthrough arrived five minutes before the break.
Kurzawa made a nuisance of himself in front of Enyeama at a corner, and his header back was volleyed through a crowded area and into the net by Pastore.
Enyeama led the protests afterwards, claiming Kurzawa was impeding him from an offside position when Pastore’s shot skidded towards the corner.
It was Sirigu’s turn to show frustration four minutes into the second period as his defensive wall disintegrated and Sidibe’s sweetly struck free-kick levelled the final.
Ibrahimovic typically led the PSG response, heading wide having a shot deflected wide, but Blanc’s men increasingly lacked composure in their attacking play.
Adama Soumaoro was the next Lille defender to make a vital tackle as Di Maria’s 59th-minute chance passed by, while, at the other end, Sofiane Boufal skipped past Serge Aurier and forced Sirigu to tip around his near post.
Boufal tried to launch a counter attack and was scythed down inside his own half by Rabiot, who could have few complaints about his second booking of the half and Sidibe broke into the box to shoot wide as Lille scented blood.
But their hopes of glory spectacularly unravelled when Di Maria capitalised on Soumaoro’s woeful backheader and kept his cool – in contrast to Enyeama, who was punished for a racing rashly out of his area.
Soumaoro headed a set-piece wide as he looked to atone for his error but the gaps he and his colleagues left on the break meant Enyeama had to deny Aurier and Ibrahimovic before the celebrations began.