PSG slips to surprise 2-1 defeat to Montpellier
PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain’s hopes of a domestic treble are over after a surprise 2-1 home defeat by Montpellier in the French Cup on Wednesday.
PSG had scored 15 goals in the four previous games, but coach Laurent Blanc’s decision not to start with regulars Zlatan Ibrahimovic, midfielder Thiago Motta and goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu backfired against an inspired Montpellier team that advanced to the last 16 of the cup.
Backup goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez was at fault for the first goal as he failed to come for a cross and defender Daniel Congre headed home in the 20th minute.
After PSG went out at the quarterfinal stage of both Cup competitions last season, the club’s Qatari owners made winning them a priority this time.
“We’ve played really well during the month of January, but tonight we didn’t and that annoyed me,” Blanc said. “We didn’t do what we had to do and we were punished by a Montpellier side that took their chances very, very well.”
Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani equalized for PSG 10 minutes later, but slack marking allowed Colombian forward Victor Hugo Montano to head a 69th-minute winner for a team languishing in 16th place in the league.
“It’s an upset, I hope we won’t be too tired against Nice on Saturday, but it’s extraordinary to win here in Paris,” Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin said. “It was impossible. They’d scored five at the weekend (against Nantes).”
Cavani scored his 20th goal of the season with a tap-in from left back Lucas Digne’s cross, but he somehow missed an open goal moments later. Javier Pastore’s shot was then saved by goalie Laurent Pionnier in the 55th as PSG squandered chances.
Blanc brought on Ibrahimovic and Motta in the 66th, but poor defending let PSG down again as Montano was unchallenged to head past a static Douchez.
Also, Monaco advanced with a 3-0 win at amateur side Chasselay.
The win was tempered by a knee injury to Colombia striker Radamel Falcao, who faces an anxious wait to find out if he has a serious injury ahead of the World Cup. He opened the scoring for Monaco in the 29th minute with his 11th goal of the season, but was caught by a heavy tackle from Chasselay center half Soner Ertek in the 40th.
After receiving treatment he was stretchered off a few minutes later and replaced by Emmanuel Riviere, who scored twice in the second half.
Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri was furious with match referee Philippe Kalt for not taking firmer action against Chasselay’s players.
“If Falcao has a serious injury, it’s the referee’s fault. It’s not possible to let things go like that,” Ranieri said. “When there are fouls, you have to whistle. When it’s a bad foul, you have to get a yellow card out and if there’s another bad foul, then it’s a red. Tonight I saw neither.”
On a night of upsets, amateur side L’ile Rousse and Moulins advanced against first division sides.
L’ile Rousse, which plays in the equivalent of the fifth division, beat Bordeaux — ninth in the top flight — 4-3 in a penalty shootout after the match finished 0-0.
Moulins, which plays in the fourth division, followed up with a 2-1 win against Toulouse — 11th in Ligue 1 — thanks to two goals from striker Sebastien Da Silva after Israel forward Eden Ben Basat had given Toulouse a first-half lead.
Elsewhere, Lyon survived a scare to beat Yzeure 3-1 — with Lyon winger Jimmy Briand equalizing straight from the restart after the non-leaguers went 1-0 up in the 74th through midfielder Lamine Mbaye.
Yoann Gourcuff continued his fine recent form with a splendid strike from 25 meters to give Lyon the lead and Steed Malbranque added a neat finish as Lyon caught Yzeure on the break.
“We have good memories of the French Cup because we won it two years ago,” Gourcuff said. “They were very motivated against us but I think we showed the right attitude and didn’t panic when we conceded that goal.”
The 27-year-old Gourcuff has scored three times in the past four games and is pushing for a recall to the France squad.
“I’m just thinking about playing and enjoying myself out on the pitch,” Gourcuff said. “I’m injury free now and the more I play, the better I feel.”