PSG wins French League Cup for record 4th straight year
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 02, 2017 07:58 AM
Monaco's Tiemoue Bakayoko, left, challenges for the ball with PSG's Roberto Edinson Cavani during their League Cup final soccer match in Decines, near Lyon, central France, Saturday, April 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer
LYON, France (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain crushed Monaco 4-1 to win the French League Cup on Saturday for a record fourth straight year and seventh time overall.
Monaco has been one of Europe's best attacking teams, scoring a whopping 130 goals in all competitions, but this time poor defending allowed PSG to dictate a one-sided final.
"I'm happy for the trophy and for the fact we showed a rival (Monaco) that we could play well," PSG coach Unai Emery said. "It's good for our motivation and our confidence."
PSG remained on course to defend its domestic treble from last season.
"When we play with the character we showed today, it's difficult for teams to play against us, even Monaco," PSG center half Thiago Silva said.
Both sides are in the French Cup quarterfinals next week, and Monaco leads the French league, three points ahead of PSG, with eight games left.
"Every competition is different. It doesn't mean we're not going to play as well in the league because we lost this game," Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said. "It's a good experience for a lot of our players, who had never played in a final."
Striker Edinson Cavani scored twice to set a new personal season best with 40 goals, but was quick to praise his teammates.
"We played with humility, consistency and a sense of sacrifice," Cavani said.
He volleyed in PSG's third goal after an exquisite pass from midfielder Marco Verratti to beat his previous best of 38 with Napoli in the 2012-13 season — just before he joined PSG for a French transfer record of 64 million euros ($68 million). He hit a clinical half-volley in the last minute from Angel Di Maria's superb cross from the left.
Cavani also missed an open goal and had a first-half chance brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, but the striker has largely carried PSG with his goals and he has excelled since Zlatan Ibrahimovic left for Manchester United.
Winger Julian Draxler opened the scoring for PSG in the fourth minute, collecting an unselfish pass from Di Maria for an easy tap in, and returned the favor when he set up Di Maria to make it 2-1 just before halftime.
Attacking midfielder Thomas Lemar gave Monaco hope when he scored the goal of the game in the 27th, a brilliant curling shot from the edge of the area that wrong-footed goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.
Monaco was missing top scorer Radamel Falcao through injury and key midfielder Fabinho through suspension. Fabinho's absence was more keenly felt.
"We really weren't expecting this," Monaco midfielder Nabil Dirar said. "Perhaps we showed them too much respect, we let them play, they gained in confidence and we paid the price. "
MARSEILLE 1, DIJON 1
France playmaker Dimitri Payet scored with a superb curling free kick as Marseille salvaged a home draw.
After midfielder Gregory Certic's own goal gave Dijon the lead in first-half injury time, Payet replied three minutes after the break. Some 30 meters from goal, Payet whipped a shot into the left corner with hardly any run up.
BASTIA 0, LILLE 1
Bastia moved closer to the second division while Lille moved further away from the relegation zone, climbing up to 13th place.