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Cazorla doubts Benzema will join

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By ESPN Staff

French Cup: PSG ease through, Cisse hat-trick

PARIS, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Troubled Paris St Germain started the defence of their French Cup title by crushing third-division Nimes 3-0 on Sunday with two goals from Ivory Coast forward Bonaventure Kalou.

Kalou opened the scoring from a Pauleta pass in the 10th minute and sealed PSG's win after a fine combination with Czech defender David Rozehnal in the 59th.

Former Portugal striker Pauleta had made it 2-0 from a Marcelo Gallardo free kick in the 23rd.

Argentina midfielder Gallardo, who joined the capital club from River Plate during the winter break, looked promising on his debut for the Parisians.

PSG go on to meet second division Gueugnon in the second round later this month. Gueugnon beat PSG 2-0 in the French League Cup final in 2000.

Champions Olympique Lyon also made a winning start but failed to shine, needing a late free kick from Brazilian set-piece artist Juninho to win 2-1 at fourth-division Bayonne.

Lyon opened the scoring on a soggy pitch early on courtesy of an own goal from Bayonne defender Emmanuel Degoul but the home side levelled on the hour with a superb long-range effort from captain Michel Bidegain.

'It wasn't easy but it's a deserved win because we created many opportunities,' said Lyon coach Gerard Houllier.

Lyon have a seemingly easy task in the next round against fifth division Laon. PSG hope Gallardo's skills can help them bounce back from a terrible first half of the season.

'Having Marcelo is a bonus but we must all help him,' said Kalou. 'This is a nice win but we have to keep in mind that Nimes are not a Ligue 1 side. We can build from this but we have plenty of work to do.'

The Paris side, who beat Olympique Marseille in last season's Cup final, lie 16th in the 20-strong Ligue 1 and their season has been tainted by hooliganism. A PSG fan was shot dead by a policeman in November after an outburst of violence following a UEFA Cup tie against Israeli team Hapoel Tel Aviv.

There will be two all-Ligue 1 ties in the second round with Monaco hosting Toulouse and Le Mans entertaining Olympique Marseille.