Di Maria steps up in place of injured Neymar in PSG win vs. Marseille
PARIS -- Defending champions Paris Saint-Germain are into the Coupe de France semifinals after an Angel Di Maria double and an Edinson Cavani goal saw them past bitter rivals Marseille in a 3-0 Classique win on Wednesday. Minutes before kickoff, the French capital outfit confirmed that Neymar will undergo surgery in Brazil before the end of the week, so the win will have lifted spirits a little.
The result was the most important thing, and PSG put their name in the hat for the semifinals with minimal fuss thanks to a convincing performance.
Di Maria provided a timely boost after the Neymar news, replacing the Brazilian superstar in the starting XI and scoring once in each half as he continued his 2018 hot streak.
Ultimately, the best news for PSG coach Unai Emery is probably that no players picked up serious injuries during the victory. Kylian Mbappe was withdrawn at half-time, but he appeared fine by the end of the match.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Emery went with a strong starting XI and witnessed a straightforward win that takes his team into the semifinals.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kevin Trapp, 6 -- It was a relatively quiet night for the Germany international, but when he was needed, he answered the call between the sticks.
DF Thomas Meunier, 7 -- In for the suspended Dani Alves and fighting illness, the Belgian put in a balanced 79-minute display before making way for Adrien Rabiot. The only blemish on his evening was an early-second half booking.
DF Thiago Silva, 6 -- After being dropped for the 3-1 defeat away at Real Madrid in the Champions League, the Brazil international has come back strong and was solid again here.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, 6 -- Continuing his recent run of starts, the youth academy graduate paired well with Silva and helped to mute Marseille's attack.
DF Yuri Berchiche, 7 -- Back in action after missing last weekend's OM win through injury, the Spaniard matched Meunier's balance on the right and added an assist for Di Maria's second goal from the left.
MF Thiago Motta, 6 -- Restored the to the starting XI as he continues to fight his way back to match fitness after a lengthy absence, the Italian veteran was solid but unspectacular for 74 minutes.
MF Marco Verratti, 7 -- Another player back in action after missing Le Classique last Sunday, the Italy international was more creative than usual and was unlucky that some of the chances that he produced were not finished off.
MF Julian Draxler, 8 -- Although he did not score, the German enjoyed himself with two assists and came close to scoring a spectacular acrobatic effort.
FW Kylian Mbappe, 6 -- Lively in the first half and then withdrawn at half-time in what appeared to be a precautionary move, the France international did not have as much of an impact on this Classique as last weekend's.
FW Edinson Cavani, 6 -- It was a patient evening's work from the Uruguayan, who eventually got his goal when teed up by Draxler.
FW Angel Di Maria, 8 -- No Neymar? No problem. The Argentina international knew that Marseille were probably an audition for a starting role against Real in Europe next week and El Fideo aced it and now looks likely to start against his former club.
MF Javier Pastore, 7 -- Given the entire second half because Mbappe needed to come off at half-time, the Argentinian made the most of it with a creative outing.
MF Lassana Diarra, NR -- Sent on for the final 16 minutes in place of Motta, the France international kept things disciplined in midfield and then filled in at right-back once Meunier was withdrawn.
MF Adrien Rabiot, NR -- Given the final 11 minutes, the Frenchman replaced Meunier and slotted seamlessly into the midfield.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.