FC Lorient v PSG: Coupe de France Preview
The next step in PSG’s attempt to repeat last season’s domestic quadruple [if we really must count the Trophee des Champions – Ed] is a Coupe de France semi-final against Lorient. FCL are 11th in the table on 43 points, so can be fully focussed on this match, whereas despite its importance for the holders, they will also be looking forwards to the Coupe de la Ligue final on Saturday.
The home team have a good scoring record with 46 in the league, outscored only by the top four and Rennes, and have also got 13 goals in their four cup matches so far. However, this run has only seen them face one top-flight opponent, and that was Gazelec Ajaccio, who perhaps had their mind on other things when Lorient beat them 3-0 in the quarter-final. In the first two rounds they took extra time to see off Ligue 2 Tours 3-2 and then National’s Boulogne 3-1, before a comfortable 4-0 win against CFA’s Sarre-Union.
Lorient aren’t likely to sit back and defend, mostly because they can’t – with 52 conceded in the league, only Bordeaux and Troyes are shippier. This has the potential to be a fun game, therefore, if they take an ‘attack is the best form of defence’ approach. Benjamin Jeannot’s five goals make him the top-scorer still in the competition (Monaco’s Lacina Traore and US Granville’s Thomas Vauvy also got five), with the inevitable Zlatan Ibrahimovic also eyeing that particular personal honour on four.
PSG’s iconic centre forward has been the key figure in their cup run, scoring the winners against CFA’s Wasquehal (1-0) and Toulouse, who took advantage of a terrible first half from the champions to go ahead, but were then reeled in, and despite a sterling rearguard effort, fell to an 89th-minute penalty. Ibrahimovic also got two goals in four minutes in the 3-0 win over Lyon, before setting up Cavani for the opener against Saint-Etienne (3-1).
For Lorient, leftback Vincent Le Goff is absent, as is Wesley Lautoa, but they welcome back Papa Abdou Paye, who scored in the last round. PSG have played Salvatore Sirigu in goal in both cups (apart from the league cup semi when he had a groin strain), and he shows little sign of being rusty after sitting on the bench for most of the season, having conceded only three goals in the nine games he has played. The midfield will again be compromised by the ongoing absences of Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta; Pastore is back, but the available midfielders don’t make a long list.
PSG should have more than enough to win this, but Lorient have a lively attack and the Parisien midfield is missing some holders, so hopefully both teams will get on the scoresheet in a high-scoring and entertaining affair.
Lorient : Lecomte, Chaigneau – Gassama, Paye, Rose, Touré, Musavu-King, Bellugou, Guerreiro – Barthelmé, Cabot, Mesloub, Ndong, Abdullah, Jouffre, Philippoteaux – Jeannot, Waris, Moukandjo.
PSG : Sirigu, Douchez – Aurier, Kimpembe, Kurzawa, Marquinhos, Maxwell, Thiago Silva, Van der Wiel – Matuidi, Pastore, Rabiot, Di Maria, Stambouli – Cavani, Ibrahimovic, Lucas, Ongenda