Kylian Mbappe sent off, Marquinhos steps up as PSG hang on to reach cup final
On Tuesday, Paris Saint-Germain won 3-2 away at Rennes to reach a fifth consecutive Coupe de la Ligue final.
The French capital outfit had Kylian Mbappe sent off, but goals from Thomas Meunier, Marquinhos and Giovani Lo Celso were enough to ensure that Unai Emery's men booked their Stade de France berth.
It was not the most impressive performance but the result was the most important thing. Emery was able to rotate players, lose a man to a red card and still watch his team advance in 90 regulation minutes.
In scoring a spectacular opening goal and performing in solid fashion at right-back, Meunier reminded Emery that Dani Alves does, or at least should, have competition for his starting role -- even when not suspended like he was in Brittany.
Mbappe's dismissal is the France international's first of his entire career, and while the incident was debatable enough for referee Mikael Lesage to require video assistance, the nature of the challenge was unlike the 19-year-old.
Up until the 85th minute, things had gone relatively well for PSG but Les Parisiens lost a bit of discipline in those final five minutes and Rennes were unnecessarily allowed to score twice. Goalkeeper Kevin Trapp will probably feel that he could have done better on both occasions.
Video Assisted Refereeing (VAR) dominated the match, and although the decisions made based on the tool were correct, to the letter of the law, the game was also an advert for what happens when too much technology is involved -- it was fragmented and frustrating to watch.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Emery named a strong starting XI, while still resting a few regular starters, and got a place in a first domestic cup final of the season in return.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kevin Trapp, 5 -- The German shot-stopper was solid for most of the match and made one very good late save, but arguably should have done better on both of Rennes' late goals.
DF Thomas Meunier, 6 -- The Belgium international opened the scoring in spectacular style and put in a strong and balanced overall display.
DF Marquinhos, 7 -- The Brazilian captained the team in the absence of Thiago Silva and Thiago Motta, and scored the second goal as part of a mature overall showing.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, 6 -- The youth academy graduate was convincing in central defence alongside Marquinhos, but was outshone by his South American teammate on the night.
DF Yuri Berchiche, 5 -- The Spaniard was not at his best but still added balance to a defence that usually lacks equilibrium when Layvin Kurzawa features.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 6 -- The France international was dominant in his secondary defensive midfield role until he was withdrawn after 88 minutes in order to hand a debut to Lassana Diarra.
MF Marco Verratti, 5 -- The Italian was solid but unspectacular and played the full 90 minutes upon his return to the starting XI after injury.
MF Javier Pastore, 3 -- The Argentina international was withdrawn at half-time after an invisible first half. Whether or not it was a diplomatic move ahead of the final day of the transfer window, El Flaco was highly unimpressive in Rennes.
FW Angel Di Maria, 6 -- The Argentine was not up to his recent high standards but still featured in the build-up to Marquinhos' goal and assisted compatriot Lo Celso's first with the capital club.
FW Kylian Mbappe, 2 -- Returning from a recent layoff after colliding with Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, the France international was sent off for the first time in his career and put in arguably his worst performance in PSG colours.
FW Neymar, 5 -- The Brazilian superstar spent more time showboating than actually playing -- perhaps in response to the rough treatment he was afforded by Rennes -- and was booked late on in an occasionally petulant outing.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, 7 -- Replaced Pastore at half-time and came on to score his first PSG goal during an impressive 45-minute showing.
MF Christopher Nkunku, NR -- The youth academy graduate replaced Di Maria in the final 10 minutes as Emery looked to shore things up after Mbappe's ejection.
MF Lassana Diarra, NR -- The well-travelled veteran made his PSG debut one minute from the end when he came on to replace Rabiot.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.