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Pauleta proves PSG´s saviour once again

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 16 Apr 2008

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Former Portuguese international striker Pedro Pauleta saved ailing French football giants once again on Wednesday as he came off the bench to score the only goal in a 1-0 win and end lower league side Carquefou’s dreams of French Cup glory.

The 34-year-old marksman has been the standout player for the Parisian outfit this season – which hasn’t been hard as they fight against relegation – and his goal gives them hopes of at least achieving a cup double this term, having won the League Cup earlier this season.

PSG lived dangerously though after establishing their lead and Carquefou should have levelled four minutes from time but somehow PSG ‘keeper Jerome Alonzo blocked the ball at close range three times.

Whilst Carquefou may feel hard done by as they certainly penetrated the PSG area on several occasions, the team made up of students, bankers and even a barman can rest on their laurels having eliminated Marseille in the previous round and have earned around 600,000 euros for their exploits – their budget for this season was only 500,000.

Pauleta, though, rested determined that the Cup was a distraction.

“Cup matches are very difficult to play and to score in,” said Pauleta. “Staying in the top division remains the priority, and its good for the morale.”

Bordeaux’s hopes of the domestic double came crashing to earth earlier on Wednesday when they lost to Second Division Sedan – finalists of the competition in 2005 – on penalties after the match finished 0-0 following extra-time.

Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc, whose side trail leaders Lyon by four points with five matches remaining, called on his side to rebound straight away from the reverse.

“This (the result) was hugely disappointing, a really bad one,” conceded Blanc, who is in his first season as a coach. “I am worried about Sunday’s league match with Toulouse.

“When we play three matches in a week, it is the third that worries me the most. Therefore from Thursday we have to regroup, I hope that the boys are going to come out of this accepting that it was just a blip.”

His Sedan counterpart Jose Pasqualetti can by contrast dream of a perfect end to his two years in charge of the ‘Wild Boars’ as he announced after the match that he was going to resign at the end of the campaign despite being offered a new contract.

“I have a wife I love, I have children and a grandchild who I adore and I miss my family,” the 51-year-old said.

“I work in a fabulous sport, an extraordinary one that allows me to earn a living but in life, there is not only money, there is also a family,” added the Corsican.

Lyon had unlike Bordeaux on Tuesday remained on for the domestic double when they edged First Division tailenders Metz 1-0, French striker Karim Benzema scoring with a brilliant piece of skill inside the penalty area in the 52nd minute.

Benzema, though, was frank about what remained the top priority of the club, that once again failed to deliver in the Champions League this term.

“The French Cup is important to us but we also want to win the seventh league title in a row for the club and remains our priority,” said the young talent, who should be one of France’s stars at this year’s Euro 2008 finals.

“I hope of course that we do achieve the double as that is something the club has never done before,” he added.

They had been joined on Tuesday in the last four when lower division Amiens beat fellow non championship side Dijon 1-0.

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