Neymar leads PSG over Amiens into semis


Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - Page 16

Neymar on Wednesday scored a second-half penalty as four-time defending champions Paris Saint-Germain toiled before overcoming 10-man Amiens SC 2-0 to reach the semi-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue.

PSG were again without leading scorer Edinson Cavani, who also missed Sunday’s Coupe de France rout of Stade Rennais after returning late from his Christmas and New Year break in Uruguay.

Amiens’ hopes of springing an upset were heavily undermined by the dismissal of goalkeeper Regis Gurtner on 34 minutes for a foul on Kylian Mbappe after charging out of his area.

Neymar eventually made the visitors’ numerical advantage count by winning and converting a spot-kick eight minutes into the second half at the Stade de la Licorne.

Mbappe, earlier denied by a fingertip save from Jean-Christophe Bouet, was then thwarted by a combination of the substitute goalkeeper and the crossbar before firing another effort narrowly wide.

Marquinhos also struck the woodwork after connecting with a cross from Giovani Lo Celso, but Adrien Rabiot wrapped up a remarkable 35th consecutive win in domestic cup ties for PSG with a glancing header from an Angel Di Maria corner on 78 minutes.

The goal was given following consultation with the video assistant referee — being used for the rest of the competition as a test ahead of its expected arrival in Ligue 1 next season — after goal-line technology failed to award it.

“Our team worked hard but we didn’t shine like on Sunday, but we also didn’t concede chances. It was easier to win, because we played with an extra man,” PSG coach Unai Emery said.

PSG are to travel to Rennes, who they thrashed 6-1 in the last 64 of the Coupe de France, in the semi-finals at the end of this month, with AS Monaco set to host Montpellier Herault in the other last-four tie.

“All teams prefer to play at home, but we will make another trip to Rennes full of desire to reach the final and win the title,” Emery added.

Isaac Mbenza scored with four minutes left as Montpellier snatched a 1-0 win at Angers SCO, while Adrien Hunou struck twice late on as Rennes defeated Toulouse 4-2.

Monaco on Tuesday became the first side to reach the last four of the competition, as goals from Thomas Lemar and Adama Diakhaby saw Leonardo Jardim’s team overcome Cote d’Azur rivals OGC Nice 2-1 at the Allianz Riviera.



Real Madrid on Wednesday fielded an almost unrecognizable team and struggled into the Copa del Rey quarter-finals after a 2-2 draw against second-tier Numancia.

Already 3-0 ahead from the first leg, coach Zinedine Zidane could afford to rest his superstars with one eye on La Liga, where they are 16 points behind Barcelona, and the UEFA Champions League last 16, with a clash against Paris Saint-Germain next month.

However, they were far from convincing at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Lucas Vazquez scored both of Real’s goals after the 11th and 59th minutes.

However, on both occasions, their modest visitors fought back thanks to a brace from Guillermo on the stroke of halftime and then after 82 minutes.

Numancia ended the game with 10 men after captain Dani Calvo was red-carded in the dying moments.

CD Leganes, a modest club from the Madrid suburbs, reached the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey for the first time in their 89-year existence.

Despite losing 2-1 at Villarreal, who are sixth in La Liga, Leganes progressed on away goals having won the first leg 1-0.

Moroccan international Nabil El Zhar scored the crucial away goal for mid-table Leganes on the half-hour mark.

In the night’s other second-leg tie, last season’s runners-up Deportivo Alaves downed third-division SD Formentera 2-0 for a 5-1 aggregate win.