French League Cup holders Paris Saint-Germain moved to within one win of retaining the trophy as a first-half goal from defender Maxwell gave them a 1-0 semi-final victory at Lille on Tuesday.
The French champions dominated affairs with the bulk of possession and mustered the only goal of the match on 27 minutes when Brazilian full back Maxwell blasted a fierce shot into the corner leaving Lille’s Nigerian ‘keeper Vincent Enyeama no chance.
The joy at reaching the final was tempered somewhat as after the game PSG’s star player Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic tried to persuade several of his team-mates to ignore the waiting press.
“Follow me follow me. Nobody talks. Zlatan is the boss,” Ibrahimovic said in English as he led a group comprising among others Maxwell, Edinson Cavani and Brazilian Lucas out of the dressingroom.
While a smiling Ibrahimovic progressed serenely through the mixed zone Brazilian star Lucas disobeyed and stopped to speak with the press speaking in Portuguese.
Laurent Blanc’s side will play either Monaco or Bastia, who meet at the Louis II stadium on Wednesday, in the April 11 final at the Stade de France.
“We’re the Cup holders and we had the heart to defend that,” said Blanc.
“We had to win here (Lille) first and that’s done but what pleases me most is not only the victory but also what we offered against a team that really dug in.
“We didn’t give them hope even if the score was only 1-0 and my team played some really good stuff which will serve us in good stead for the future but we still have to progress,” added the former Bordeaux and France coach.
The victory keeps PSG on track for a quartet of trophies with a Champions League last-16 tie against Chelsea on February 17 and a last-16 French Cup fixture against Nantes lying ahead.
The capital club also have the chance to go top of Ligue 1 on Sunday when they attempt to overturn a two point deficit on Lyon when the teams meet at the Stade Gerland.
“We have a lot of matches and it’s going to be a marathon but let’s hope it continues as long as possible. I hope that March will be complicated and the marathon continues into April and May which will mean we’re advancing in all competitions.” concluded Blanc.
Rene Girard’s Lille side were out of their depth against the star-studded PSG line-up who put a first choice team out including Ibrahimovic, Cavani, Thiago Silva and David Luiz.
The hosts hardly conjured up a second half opportunity as reserve ‘keeper Nicolas Douchez, standing in for Salvatore Sirigu, enjoyed a relaxed evening in the away goal.
Lucas and Cavani played a role in the winner with the Uruguayan marksman sliding the ball across to Maxwell who made no mistake from the edge of the penalty box. – Agence France-Presse