Chateauroux 1-3 Paris Saint-Germain: Late goals bring Galtier’s men on in the Coupe de France
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Paris Saint-Germain left out their biggest stars and survived a scare to advance in the Coupe de France by claiming a 3-1 win at Chateauroux on Friday.
An early goal from Hugo Ekitike was equalized by Natanael Ntolla before half-time and PSG had to wait until the 78th minute for Carlos Soler to bring the Ligue 1 side home before Juan Bernat added some sparkle late on.
Christophe Galtier included 16-year-old Warren Zaire Emery in his heavily changed starting line-up, without Lionel Messi, Neymar or Kylian Mbappe as Ekitike, Pablo Sarabia and Soler were selected in attack.
Chateauroux, who play in the third division of French football, belied their meager 14th place finish in the Championnat National with a determined performance against their celebrated opponents, but PSG eventually made it through to the round of 32.
79′ – Le deuxième but parisien par @Carlos10Soler !!!
— Paris Saint Germain (@PSG_inside) January 6, 2023
The visitors took the lead in the 13th minute when Ismael Gharbi’s first ball came in from the edge of the area and Ekitike’s path, and the young striker fired the outside of his right foot cleanly at the left post.
Jonathan Mexique came close on the home side in the 26th minute with a close-range shot that deflected off a diving Vitinha, while Paul Delecroix made a good save shortly afterwards after a Gharbi volley to his left.
Eight minutes before the break the points were level but after clean work down the left flank it ended with former Lille and Saint-Etienne striker Nolan Roux pulling the ball back to Ntolla, whose shot was aimed by the 17-year-old Keylor Navas was deflected past PSG defender El Chadaille Bitshiabu.
Galtier called for more experience in the second half when Sergio Ramos and Fabian Ruiz came on just after the hour mark and the coach eventually saw his side regain the lead when Vitinha headed in a cross to the far post that Ekitike headed kept goal clear, with Soler continuing after Delecroix’s first save.
Bernat made it 3-1 in stoppage time after chasing a ball from Ruiz and firing low and hard over Delecroix to seal victory for PSG.
— Coupe de France (@coupedefrance) January 6, 2023
What does it mean? PSG struggles without its star strikers
In the end it was a successful evening for PSG but they worked hard and didn’t look too keen on scoring before Soler and Bernat struck late.
Galtier made seven changes, including three teenagers, from the team that lost 3-1 at Lens. Apart from them and 20-year-old Ekitike, it was an experienced line-up including Navas, Marquinhos and Bernat, among others.
The lack of familiarity was no doubt a factor and they will have Messi, Neymar and Mbappe back soon anyway, but in cup football only a win counts.
Chateauroux shows heart
Maxence Flachez’s side presented the Ligue 1 champions with a major test, certainly a lot bigger than many had anticipated.
They fought hard, especially in the second half when they won 59 percent of their tackles, but in the end the Parisians showed greater quality.
PSG rare but sharp shooters
Without their main trio, PSG seemed to have nobody looking to shoot in the early stages of the game as they only had five shots in the first hour.
They finished the game with 12 total attempts on goal, just one more than their opponents, but PSG’s accuracy was far superior, hitting the target with 10 shots, while Chateauroux tested Navas only twice out of 11.
Chateauroux take on Red Star FC in the league next Friday, while PSG return to Ligue 1 at home to Angers on Wednesday.