Ailing French football giants Paris Saint Germain have experienced more lows than highs this season save winning the League Cup but on Wednesday it could reach its nadir when they play fifth division side Carquefou in the French Cup quarter-finals.
PSG enter the tie on the back of a demoralising 3-2 defeat to Nice, having surrendered a 2-1 lead in the final three minutes and leaving them in the relegation zone, while Carquefou must be licking their lips in anticipation having seen off the much more in form Marseille last time out in the Cup.
While former Portuguese international striker Pedro Pauleta – who scored one of PSG’s goals in the league defeat – said that the Nice reverse was a collective responsibility, reserve goalkeeper Jerome Alonso, who is likely to start on Wednesday, gave a better reflection of how the dressingroom felt.
“We are very sad,” he said.
“Now we must try to dress the wounds.
“However, it really is the atmosphere of a relegated team.
“It is dreadful. I would like to say that we all went out to a restaurant together but I can’t lie to you.
“We took a blow to the head, now we will see if we are strong enough to rebound from that.”
In certain respects Carequefou are in no better shape than PSG in terms of their league status, as they presently stand 14th of the 16 teams in the fifth division, but Cup competitions generally deliver the stuff that provoke the cliche ‘the romance of the Cup’ – which saw non league side Calais reach the final in 2000.
Carquefou coach Denis Renaud said that Calais’ former handler Ladislais Lozano had admitted he saw a lot of resemblance between his side and his outfit’s exploits.
“He (Lozano) told me that he saw a lot of similarities in our way of playing,” said Renaud, who has guided his side to victory over not only Marseille but also higher placed sides such as Gueugnon and Nancy.
While the PSG coach’s job may well be up for grabs – Paul Le Guen’s position being in dire jeopardy – Renaud preferred to be sarcastic about his future prospects.
“Barcelona and Bayern Munich have phoned me.
“I am really surprised not to see my name among the best paid managers in France.”
However, the 33-year-old denied that the Cup run had changed him.
“I hope I haven’t changed,” he said.
“I feel fulfilled. Although, it is difficult to maintain the same rhythm throughout the season, especially with a job and a family life.”
Should Carquefou prevail on Wednesday then it might well be Le Guen who will be spending more time with his family.
Amiens v Dijon
Lyon v Metz
Bordeaux v Sedan
Carquefou v Paris SG
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