By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — With one eye on Real Madrid next week, Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery left out forwards Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani for the trip to Troyes in the French league on Saturday.
Mbappe cut his ankle on Wednesday in the French Cup quarterfinal win against Marseille and Emery is not risking him ahead of playing Real Madrid on Tuesday in the last 16 of the Champions League. PSG trails 3-1 from the first leg in Madrid.
Emery is also resting Cavani, the team top-scorer with 32.
However, he has included striker Timothy Weah — the son of Liberia President George Weah — who could make his PSG debut.
PSG will line up against 18th-placed Troyes without its three best forwards.
Neymar faces a season-ending spell on the sidelines, and will have surgery on a broken toe in his right foot. He could be out for up to three months, right up to the World Cup in Russia.
PSG has failed to go beyond the quarterfinals of the Champions League since Qatari owners QSI took over the club nearly seven years ago. PSG went out in the last 16 to Barcelona last year, losing the return leg 6-1 after winning 4-0 at home in a hugely embarrassing loss for Emery.
Emery is under big pressure to make amends this season and even more so considering his tactical choices against Madrid in the first leg. PSG conceded two late goals having taken the lead, and looked in control before the late collapse.
Also with Madrid in mind, Emery left out key midfielder Marco Verratti against Troyes. Attacking midfielder Javier Pastore and Brazil center back Marquinhos — who is recovering from a left-thigh tear — are also absent.
However, Emery has included the 18-year-old Weah.
Like father, like son?
PSG will certainly hope so.
George Weah was also a striker and starred for PSG in the 1990s. Thanks to his eight goals, PSG reached the Champions League semifinals in 1995 and has not done so since.
He scored 55 goals in 138 games for PSG and became the first non-European to win the Golden Ball in 1995 before joining AC Milan, where he played for six seasons.