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Ligue 1

Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain Advance To Coupe de La Ligue Final

Paris Saint-Germain
RENNES, FRANCE - JANUARY 30: After viewing the video, referee Mikael Lesage gives a red card to Kylian Mbappe of PSG during the French League Cup (Coupe de la Ligue) match between Stade Rennais and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) at Roazhon Park on January 30, 2018 in Rennes, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

With great power comes great responsibility, and the egos of Unai Emery’s Paris Saint-Germain Football Club have caused a great deal of resentment across the have-nots of French club football. One of those have-nots is Sabri Lamouchi’s Stade Rennais FC, who put on a brave fightback but ultimately fell, 3-2, in the Coupe de La Ligue semifinals. PSG will most likely face AS Monaco in a rematch of the 2017 final in Lyon.

“This match was our first challenge of the season, because we wanted to reach the final,” said Emery. “There’s a trophy at the end and I want us to lift the Coupe de la Ligue again. In this competition, we have won three away games, which is always difficult. We have won three times here in Rennes, the team deserves credit for that.”

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Kylian Mbappe was sent off for the first time ever in his professional career for a studs-up tackle on Ismaila Sarr in the second half and Neymar Santos Jr.’s lack of sportsmanship resulted in a deserved caution in the third minute of second half stoppage time. No question that the main men of the MCN trio on the pitch in Neymar and Mbappe became deserved villains in a heated showdown that has seen the Parisians gain the upper hand across all meetings this campaign.

“We knew it would be quite a tough game,” Kevin Trapp told France 2. “The pitch wasn’t in the same condition as our two previous visits. Rennes played well and defended well. We scored three important goals. It was tricky at the end, but we’re very happy to be in the final.”

Thomas Meunier (24′), Marquinhos (53′) and Giovani Lo Celso (58′) scored for Paris while new acquisition Diafra Sakho (85′) and Sanjin Prcic (90′ + 2′) made the closing stages of the contest very tense indeed. Video Assistant Referee intervention caused a would-be goal on either end to be disallowed while confirming Mbappe’s red card. Lassana Diarra made his debut in the 89th minute in a game management role for PSG.

Rennes outshot Paris 13 to eight but PSG had more possession (70 to 30 percent) and corners (eight to four). The hosts were forced to make more saves (five to two) and PSG had more shots on goal (five to four) and fouls (17 to seven) in a very aggressive display by the defending cup holders.

“It was a tough match and we were up against a good team,” said a crestfallen Mbappe. “We were not that good. I was not that good but we have still come out of it with a place in the final. Yes, it was a frustrating game and it was tough for both the team and myself. When things like this happen, you get more and more frustrated, less and less lucid and then you do things that deserve a red card.”

“I’m happy, because it had been a while since I had played,” Diarra concluded. “I’m happy to have been with the team, but the most important thing is the victory and reaching the final. I’m also happy to have played my first minutes with Paris. Everything came together to make this a good evening.”

With the exception of their shambolic effort against Lyon, the month of January was a solid month for Paris Saint-Germain. PSG are back in action to start the month of February on Saturday, Feb. 3 away to Lille OSC. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 a.m. PT/11 a.m. ET.

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