AS Saint-Etienne beat Paris Saint-Germain 5-3 on penalties in their French Coupe de la Ligue quarter-final on Tuesday, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang firing home the winning spot-kick after the game had ended 0-0 after extra-time.
Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva missed the crucial third spot-kick for the visitors, who never got to take their fifth after Aubameyang’s strike put the shootout beyond them.
Saint-Etienne are proving to be something of a bete noire for the Parisians, having also ended their unbeaten Ligue 1 run at the Parc des Princes recently.
In a classic cup tie atmosphere at a pulsating Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, the first half of the game between the two French giants was full of action and purpose.
Live-wire former SSC Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi had the ball in the net on 33 minutes for PSG, but he was ruled offside when latching onto Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s through ball.
At the other end, Aubameyang’s close-range header in the 17th minute was cleared off the line by Clement Chantome.
Paris Saint-Germain’s defense were disciplined and assured, while the giant Ibrahimovic cut a fearsome figure as he roved at will across the full breadth of the forward line.
Saint-Etienne defended in numbers and their goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier held his nerve in the face of an onrushing Ibrahimovic, refusing to be drawn out and saving well with his feet.
In the second half the hosts fell back on their defense and PSG, who could have been mistaken for the home side so willing were they to go forward, looked to be running out of ideas, despite Ibrahimovic’s flicks and shimmies.
As Saint-Etienne strangled the life out of the game, the visitors were fortunate to survive a stoppage-time free-kick with the crowd baying for a goal.
An extra-time mix-up between Lavezzi and Ibrahimovic after an ill-judged back-pass cost the visitors the lead when a disbelieving Rufier pounced at the feet of the hesitating Swede when a goal seemed certain.
PSG laid siege to the Saint-Etienne goal in the final period of extra-time and Ruffier had to beat out a Sylvain Armand shot which was heading for the top corner of the net.