Thursday, March 1, 2018 7:06 am
Argentine winger Angel Di Maria produced a majestic performance capped by two fine goals to help French Cup holders Paris St Germain reach the semi-finals on Wednesday.
The Ligue 1 leaders won 3-0 over Olympique Marseille on Wednesday.
It was a carbon copy of PSG’s 3-0 league victory over Marseille on Sunday in which their Brazil forward Neymar suffered a broken foot.
It was an injury which requires surgery and is likely to keep him out for six to eight weeks.
PSG’s win came amid two quarter-final shocks as third division Les Herbiers and Chambly, both in the relegation zone, upset more heralded rivals to reach the last four.
Les Herbiers beat second division Lens 4-2 on penalty kicks following a goalless stalemate after extra time on Tuesday.
Chambly stunned top-tier Strasbourg 1-0 thanks to a late Lassana Doucoure goal on Wednesday.
Di Maria, whose playing time this season has been limited by Neymar’s performances, scored both goals with his weaker right foot.
He was a constant menace to Marseille, whose goalkeeper Steve Mandanda spared the visitors from a heavier defeat.
Di Maria opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time when he drilled in a stinging low shot from 20 metres.
The shot took a slight deflection off Marseille defender Adil Rami, prompting Mandanda to kick his post in frustration.
Di Maria added the second in the 48th minute with a composed finish after left back Yuri Berchiche’s teasing cross sailed past two defenders.
Mandanda, who had saved a Di Maria pile-driver in the first half, somehow kept out Edinson Cavani’s header and Julian Draxler shot inches wide with a spectacular overhead kick.
Cavani sealed the rout in the 82nd minute.
A dazzling move through the middle left Cavani with time to crash a thumping low shot past Mandanda as the home fans celebrated at the Parc des Princes.
Caen host fellow first division side Olympique Lyonnais in the other quarter-final on Thursday.(Reuters/NAN)