Edinson Cavani and Marquinhos a 6 as PSG dig out victory in Coupe de la Ligue
Five-time defending Coupe de la Ligue champions Paris Saint-Germain are into the quarterfinals after a 2-1 win away at Ligue 2 side Orleans on Tuesday.
Edinson Cavani gave Thomas Tuchel's men the lead with a graceful lobbed effort before Joseph Lopy equalised for the hosts. Substitute Moussa Diaby grabbed an excellent late winner.
Away from home against motivated second-tier opponents on a cold winter night and on a dreadful Stade de la Source pitch, PSG had to dig out a result to reach the next round and they did exactly that to keep their hopes of a sixth straight title alive.
Aside from that, Diaby's bright late cameo was the other big plus (but it also raised questions as to why Tuchel did not start him as part of the rotated starting XI). And the German tactician has now tasted domestic cup action in France, so that is another good thing.
The injuries to Alphonse Areola and Angel Di Maria were obvious lowlights, and there were a number of disappointing performances across the board. But the result was positive, and there were no major issues. It simply was not pleasant viewing at times.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Tuchel rotated his players, and although he still arguably could have rested more of them, the team that he went with ultimately got the job done.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alphonse Areola, 5 -- Forced off injured at half-time, he did not have much to do in the 45 minutes he was on the pitch.
DF Dani Alves, 4 -- Arguably his most difficult outing since returning from injury and he struggled to get going like many of his teammates.
DF Thiago Silva, 6 -- The strongest performer in the PSG defence on the night, it was still not his finest hour.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, 5 -- Yet again not at his best, but the conditions were hardly conducive to great play anywhere across the pitch.
DF Juan Bernat, 4 -- Booked late on, it was a bit of a surprise to see him start and his performance hardly justified his inclusion.
MF Marquinhos, 6 -- One of PSG's better performers in Orleans, he still did not exactly hit the heights of some of his recent displays.
MF Christopher Nkunku, 3 -- One of Les Parisiens' weakest links, he was at fault for Lopy's equaliser by sloppily losing possession.
MF Julian Draxler, 4 -- His late assist for Diaby's winner just about saved him from being the worst player on the pitch but it was still a poor outing.
FW Angel Di Maria, 5 -- Conjured up an assist for Cavani's opener, and his was one of the better showings for the visitors until he was forced off injured on the hour.
FW Edinson Cavani, 6 -- Took his goal gracefully and is now within touching distance of another PSG record after he tied the legendary Pauleta with 15 from 16 matches.
FW Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, 4 -- His physical presence was necessary on a difficult night when technical ability was not always required.
GK Gianluigi Buffon, 4 -- Beaten by Lopy's strike from distance, which he could arguably have done better to keep out, after replacing Areola at the break.
FW Kylian Mbappe, 5 -- Sent on for Di Maria, it was a quiet final appearance for him as a teenager.
MF Moussa Diaby, NR -- Given just over 10 minutes at the end as a replacement for Nkunku, he made the most of it by scoring a fine winner that should put him in contention to feature against Nantes on Saturday.