Holders Paris Saint-Germain labored to a 1-0 win at fourth-tier ES Wasquehal on Sunday to reach the round-of-32 of the Coupe de France, while Olympique Lyonnais and AS Monaco recorded thumping victories over amateur sides.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed home a Marco Verratti cross on the hour mark in far northern France as the runaway Ligue 1 leaders maintained their unbeaten domestic run this season.
PSG coach Laurent Blanc rested several key players, including Angel di Maria, Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva, but still fielded a strong team that included the likes of Ibrahimovic, Verratti, Blaise Matuidi and Thiago Motta.
“Getting back into competition is always the hardest part, even more so with the tricky weather conditions,” Blanc said after PSG’s first competitive game following France’s short winter break, during which they traveled to Qatar for a training camp. “We would have liked to have played better to wrap things up earlier and make things easier, but we weren’t capable of doing that this afternoon. The most important thing is to move on and we’ve done that.”
Elsewhere, Lyon made a promising start under new coach Bruno Genesio as Maxwell Cornet and Rachid Ghezzal both scored twice, with Claudio Beauvue, Sergi Darder and Corentin Tolisso also on target in a 7-0 hammering of fifth-division Limoges.
Monaco hit double digits with a crushing 10-2 defeat of seventh-tier Saint-Jean Beaulieu in a local derby as Lacina Traore scored four first-half goals before he was sent off for a halftime altercation.
In an all top-flight tie, Olympique de Marseille won 3-1 on penalties away to Stade Malherbe Caen after a tie that remained goalless through 90 minutes and extra-time in Normandy.
Marseille, who have won the competition a record 10 times, but not since 1988-1989, survived having Dutch defender Karim Rekik sent off in the second half to progress as goalkeeper Steve Mandanda saved three spot-kicks in the penalty shootout.
AS Saint-Etienne were given a scare by US Raonnaise, as the Ligue 1 side were taken to penalties following a 1-1 draw, eventually prevailing 4-3 in a shootout against their fifth-tier opponents.
Girondins de Bordeaux came from behind to beat third-tier Etoile Frejus Saint-Raphael 3-2, with Diego Rolan grabbing a stunning 90th-minute winner for the visitors after Cheick Diabate had twice leveled for Willy Sagnol’s side.
Montpellier Herault, who saw Pascal Baills and Bruno Martini take joint control of the first team after the resignation of Rolland Courbis last month, edged past fifth-division RC Epernay Champagne 1-0 courtesy of a second-half goal from Mustapha Yatabare.
Benjamin Jeannot scored an extra-time winner for Lorient as they overcame Ligue 2 outfit Tours 3-2, Lille OSC scraped past AC Amiens 1-0 and En Avant de Guingamp were comfortable 4-0 winners at US Chantilly.
The draw for the next round was due to take place yesterday before the final round-of-64 tie, an all Ligue 1 affair between OGC Nice and Stade Rennais on the Cote d’Azur.
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.