Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the only goal of the game as Paris Saint-Germain started their Coupe de France defence with a routine 1-0 win over fourth-tier outfit Wasquehal on Sunday.
PSG defeated Auxerre 1-0 in last season’s final as part of an unprecedented domestic clean sweep in French football.
And Laurent Blanc’s men deservedly progressed to the round of 32 of the 2015-16 competition courtesy of Ibrahimovic’s looping second-half header.
The Ligue 1 champions, who are unbeaten domestically this term, spurned a host of chances at the Stadium Nord Lille Metropole, with Jean-Kevin Augustin and Ibrahimovic particularly guilty in the first half.
Wasquehal, who sit third in Group A of the Championnat de France Amateur, defended valiantly but their luck ran out in the second half when Ibrahimovic made it seven goals in his past six appearances to give PSG a winning start to the new year.
Unsurprisingly, the visitors dominated possession in the opening stages, but Wasquehal created the best opening when Geoffrey Cabaye – brother of former PSG star Yohan – skewed wide from the edge of the box.
Salvatore Sirigu then spilled Messaoud Bouardja’s long-range strike, only for the goalkeeper to be saved by an offside flag with Adama Diakite ready to pounce on the rebound.
PSG soon began to dominate, though, and Augustin wasted a gilt-edged opportunity with an air shot inside the six-yard box from Layvin Kurzawa’s centre.
Augustin was wasteful again when he volleyed over from close range after an excellent clip over the top from Adrien Rabiot.
Wasquehal goalkeeper Romain Samson was the next to deny Augustin with his feet and from the follow up Marco Verratti’s shot was brilliantly blocked by Aurelien Goret.
The home goal was living a charmed life and Ibrahimovic side-footed wide from six yards after more excellent work from Kurzawa.
The Swede saw an ambitious 30-yard strike just clear the right-hand post before the break, and twice saw efforts go wide from distance early in the second half.
PSG’s pressure finally told on the hour mark, though. Verratti’s cross looped off the head of Ibrahimovic and past Samson’s attempt to punch the ball clear.
Ibrahimovic again went close with a dragged effort from the left of the area that deflected wide of the far post.
As the clock wound down, PSG appeared happy to just keep control of the ball, although Marquinhos almost made it 2-0 in the closing stages with an audacious chip but Samson scrambled back well to palm to safety.