Saturday, May 27, 2017

Paris Saint-Germain 3 Lille 1: Moura at the double as holders progress

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 14 Dec 2016

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Lucas Moura scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain ended a run of three games without a win by beating Lille 3-1 in the Coupe de la Ligue last 16.

In a repeat of last season’s final, holders PSG once again got the better of Lille, despite coach Unai Emery resting a number of star names and putting his faith in a blend of fringe players and emerging talent.

The quality of Brazil international Moura was instrumental as PSG dominated the game and he scored a penalty just before half-time to put the home side ahead.

Moura doubled the lead just before the hour mark, and the victory was wrapped up when Jese scored his first goal from open play since joining PSG from Real Madrid, despite Marko Basa’s late consolation for Lille.

The victory eases the pressure on Emery, who will be only too aware that his predecessor Laurent Blanc won a domestic treble in his last two seasons at PSG, and he will have been glad to return to winning ways while giving the likes of Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria a much-needed rest.

Emery rang the changes in his starting line-up, relegating six of his side from Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Nice to the bench and giving the likes of young striker Jean-Kevin Augustin a chance to shine.

Augustin should have opened the scoring for PSG when he went through one-on-one with Lille’s Mike Maignan, but the goalkeeper stuck out a foot to prevent the 19-year-old from going around him.

Maignan was called into action moments later to parry away Lucas’ powerful drive as the home side found their flow, and some intuitive link-up play between Marquinhos and Thomas Meunier caused Lille problems.

Augustin’s inexperience let him down when Stoppila Sunzu gave the ball away sloppily, but he failed to compose himself quickly enough to capitalise. And he missed another gilt-edged chance when the ball fell to him with the whole goal to aim at, but his shot was blocked by Renato Civelli.

After a torrid first half, Augustin finally succeeded in winning a penalty when Maignan brought him down as he chased Lucas’ delightful flick, and it was the Brazilian who stepped up to bury the spot-kick.

Not to be upstaged by Augustin, fellow teenager Christopher Nkunku rattled a shot against the crossbar within two minutes of the second half as the hosts pressed hard for a second goal.

The goal duly arrived when Marco Verratti threaded a pass to Nkunku, whose cross crept round the back of Lille’s defence and found Lucas unmarked at the far post for an easy finish.

Emery sent on Blaise Matuidi for Verratti to give his side a lift, and five minutes later the substitute squared the ball to Jese, who powered into the box before firing clinically past Maignan.

Nkunku might have capped a fine performance with a goal when his late free-kick was blocked before Basa’s downward header in the 89th minute beat Kevin Trapp to end hope of a PSG clean sheet.

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