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Ligue 1

Paris Saint-Germain Rout AS Monaco To Defend Coupe De La Ligue

LYON, FRANCE - APRIL 1 : PSG players celebrate with their trophies after winning the French League Cup final football match between AS Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain at the Stade des Lumieres in Lyon, France on April 1, 2017. (Photo by PHILIP ROCK/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

At some point in the timeline, AS Monaco‘s form against Paris Saint-Germain was going to run out. Unfortunately for them, it came in the 2017 Coupe De La Ligue final. This time, Leonardo Jardim’s charges had no answer for a breakthrough performance from Unai Emery’s men who, despite conceding a 27th minute goal from Thomas Lemar, pulled off an otherwise convincing statement victory, a 4-1 smashing of the Ligue 1 leaders at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Decines-Charpeau, Lyon, France.

This marks the fourth straight year PSG has hoisted the French Cup making it the first and only club in France to accomplish the feat. Les Parisians have won the Coupe de la Ligue for a record seventh time in their history.

And it was the usual suspects that did the work for the defending champions: Julian Draxler (4′), Angel Di Maria (44′) and Edinson Cavani (54′, 90′), who has made history by scoring for the first time in a season 40 goals across all competitions participated. The title is PSG’s fourth in a row, breaking a mark set by Olympique de Marseille (2010-12).

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You know, there is a concept that many of you familiar with sport should know: Mickey Mouse Cup. Now, the definition of Mickey Mouse Cup originates from the original trophy that qualifies for the definition: the English Football League Cup, or EFL Cup for short. This term, originated by supporters of Liverpool, is used to negatively describe a cup, league, or other competition as being of a lower standard, importance or significance to a football club or manager relative to other competitions.

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There can be those who may be convinced that this was not really an April Fools Joke, that AS Monaco’s first team were actually doing this on purpose. And the reason for that is this: the Monegasques were not taking the final of this competition seriously. How did this team win and draw against Paris Saint-Germain in league play, and yet could not stop three goals scored on the trot after the Lemar equalizer?

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It’s not rocket science at all: Paris Saint-Germain’s mentality, according to this author’s esteemed interpretation, is to take every battle on the pitch and war over months with great and grave seriousness because to not have a desire to win for this team…is to not have any future whatsoever winning for this team. In other words, PSG finally snapped and started to treat Monaco like they were Barcelona, a team that they collapsed against weeks ago at the Camp Nou in the second leg of the UCL Round of 16.

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“I’m very happy for the players, the team, the supporters and the coaching staff,” said Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the esteemed owner of Paris Saint-Germain and the overseer to the club’s turn of fortunes. “We deserve this trophy. We are used to winning it now, but we were in a difficult moment after the Barcelona result. Tonight we saw the real face of Paris Saint-Germain. If we play like that every match, we won’t lose against anyone. Every single player showed how good we are. Before the match, I could see the players wanted to win this game, I saw it in their eyes. We showed that we are strong, that we are still here. It was a confidence-building victory. Our main objective now is to try and win the league. I am confident we will win it.”

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“This team is used to winning titles,” Emery added.  “It’s important for the supporters and for us. It was good to be playing against Monaco and it was the opportunity to show that we are still here. The players did the job. Congratulations also to Monaco that enjoyed a great run to the final. We showed for 90 minutes that we are a good team. We believe in the league title now. If we get the chance, we will take it. That’s our aim.”

“We played with character,” said PSG’s longtime captain, Thiago Silva. “It was a very tough game, for both teams. Monaco are having a great season. We didn’t see the real Paris Saint-Germain against Barcelona. But today we did. Sometimes football can be cruel and unfair, but tonight Paris Saint-Germain played very well and deserved the victory.”

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The Parisians—decked in their iconic blue outfits with purple accents and who battled with technical skill and fluid football mastery iconic of the past couple of seasons prior to this encounter—did not forget that insipid, diabolical, uncharacteristic sham of a performance against the unflappable Blaugrana and the legendary combo of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, and the lack of overall heart desire to play proper football in the heart of the Goths. That immediate memory was the motivation they needed because Monaco are currently still alive, if barely, in the UEFA Champions League.

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With that said, Monaco still have a chance at a treble, but this result could put them in grave danger of collapsing against Lille OSC, a team whose form against Paris Saint-Germain is relatively nonexistent. Les Dogues have reason to believe that Monaco have finally cracked and they could pull a late April Fish joke of their own.

Never mind that their next Champions League assignment is Christian Pulisic, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Borussia Dortmund. It certainly will not get any easier for the Monegasques, that’s for sure. But, if the club’s Ligue 1 form is to be believed (and we all know very well that seeing is believing), you can expect AS Monaco to drop the lack of commitment and get back to their winning ways from throughout this season.

As for PSG, a more straightforward assignment will be given in the form of US Avranches of the Championnat National, on April 5. That match is our next live blog for this calendar year and PSG will need to use this as a vital tuneup for a chance at redemption against EA Guingamp in Ligue 1 play on April 9. Paris have to keep their winning ways intact and the play the sport properly and with honor as they are perceived by this ever-changing world as a clear and honest extension of Ile-de-France’s timeless affinity for excellence, achievement and style in all constructive ways that encompass life and sport. As the great Allen Davis of the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders once said…

Need we say more?

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