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Coupe de la Ligue
February 4, 2014
• Stade de la Beaujoire - Louis Fonteneau, Nantes
Referee: L. Duhamel
• Attendance: 35714
O. Veigneau 81'
Z. Ibrahimovic 5', 90'
That's all we have time for, but we hope that you enjoyed our live coverage of PSG's last gasp 2-1 win against Nantes, in the Coupe de la Ligue semi-final. I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to see you all again next time.
Ibrahimovic the difference in this game, with the instrumental Swede popping up with a fantastic strike, and an equally important header in the final minute of the game. Veigneau thought he had taken the game to extra time with his first Nantes goal, but it just wasn't to be for Der Zakarian's men. PSG go to the cup final for the fifth time in their history.
THAT'S IT! FULL TIME! PSG are through to the Coupe de la Ligue final, a fortnight after a shock exit from the Coupe de France against Montpellier! Two goals from Ibrahimovic killed off the resistance of a brave Nantes side, whose fans have been phenomenal for the entire 90 minutes. Harsh on the hosts, but PSG were the better side for long periods.
90' + 1'
Only three minutes of stoppage time have awarded, and that goal appears to have taken the wind out of Nantes' sails! It was a brilliant header, as the Swede got in between the two centre-halves, before directing the ball beyond Riou.
Goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic
GOOOOOOAL! ZLATAN HAS DONE IT AGAIN! PSG should be on course for the final now! He's been quiet for the entirety of the second half, but pops up with a vital goal! He heads beyond the helpless Riou, and the Swedish international appears to have netted the winner!
Djordjevic is down injured, following a clash with Matuidi, and it looks as though there will be a large lump of second half stoppage time here. There have been breaks in play for substitutions, while the referee has struggled to control the game at times, leading to long stoppages. Plenty of time for either side to win this tie.
We're getting towards the business end of the match, and it's going to be tough to separate these two sides! The hosts have fought with all of their might to get back into this game, and they're continuing to push. No sign of Der Zakarian's men wanting to settle for extra time, they have PSG on the ropes.
Important clearance from Thiago Silva! The PSG captain is present at the back post to hoof clear, as Nantes start to take the attacking impetus! Shechter has made a real impact since coming on, and the home side look the more likely to find the third goal of this match!
PSG look shellshocked, they're suddenly back on level terms, despite being the better of the two sides! The crowd are getting right behind the home side, even more vociferously than before the equaliser, if that's possible! The atmosphere is bouncing, and PSG have a nervy last ten minutes to navigate.
Goal Olivier Veigneau
GOOOOOOOAL! VEIGNEAU! HE'S DONE IT! The crowd goes mental, we have our equaliser! A cross from Gakpe found the defender in space at the back post, and he slots an excellent strike into the bottom right corner!
Ten minutes are left on the clock, with the potential for plenty of stoppage time too. The winner, of course, will go into the Coupe de la Ligue final - plenty to play for here. In poor conditions, with tiring legs, anything could happen.
Etay Shechter is thrown into the fray for his Nantes debut, as the Israeli striker looks to make a name for himself at his new club - and what a reputation he would gain if he was to net an equaliser. Formerly of Swansea City, the 26-year-old forward could have an important role to play in the final ten minutes or so.
Van der Wiel manages to clear PSG's lines, after another positive run down the right from Cissokho provides the right-back with another crossing opportunity. Again, it's poorly executed, but the Dutchman did well to deal with the delivery in swirling wind.
Thiago Motta and Deaux collide, with the Italian midfielder losing his balance and steaming through the trailing leg of the Nantes midfielder with his shoulder. Both players are back onto their feet following a shortlived breather, and they should be okay to carry on. That looked rather painful.
Conditions are worsening here, with heavy rain and wind combining with an awful playing surface, to make a lethal footballing cocktail. This certainly doesn't suit PSG, who are struggling to stroke the ball around like in the first half, but their quality should be enough for them to force their way into the final.
IBRA! The giant Swede fires another free-kick effort into the awaiting wall, before PSG mount another attack. Menez is found wide on the left, following a poor defensive clearance, but his cross is turned behind for a corner. The resulting set piece is wasted by PSG.
Twenty minutes remaining, and PSG certainly don't have this game where they'd like it to be. Nantes are still in with an opportunity to grab an equaliser, and Blanc opts to switch things up with the introduction of both Cabaye and Menez. Les Parisiens need a second goal to kill this off.
Bessat is clattered by a late lunge from Motta, and Nantes have a free-kick in a rather central area, within shooting distance. Djordevic takes it, but he can only curl a tame effort over the crossbar, with Douchez happy to watch it on its way.
Both Javier Pastore and Yohan Cabaye are warming up for the away side, with Blanc perhaps conceding that his side are slipping away slightly in this game. The Nantes home crowd continue with their fanatical support, and there's a genuine sense of belief in the stadium now.
Nantes are beginning to forge themselves a foothold in the game, with Djordjevic providing a focal point that the PSG defensive line are currently unable to deal with. The hosts work their way from left to right, but Cissokho's eventual cross is poor, and Van der Wiel clears at the back post.
Both managers may begin to look to their benches, as this game has gone somewhat stale offensively. Neither goalkeeper has really been tested since the start of the second half, and with plenty of players picking up yellow cards, potential suspensions begin to come into play too.
Half an hour left to play, and PSG continue to be the better of the two sides, but Nantes showed in the first half that they aren't to be counting out of proceedings. Just one mistake or piece of fortune could see Les Canaris pull themselves level, and with Douchez failing to impress during set pieces, the hosts may have a way back into the tie.
Despite PSG playing some nice stuff, and Nantes now motivated to try and break whenever possible, this game is being spoiled. Cynical decisions from both sets of players, and the referee's inability to keep the players under control is leading to a lack of flow in the game.
Thiago Motta, guilty of throwing himself to the ground in the first half under no challenge, is back on the turf, and the referee is being asked even more questions. Nantes will be happy to break up the spell of dominance for PSG, but the referee isn't having an easy time out there. Duhamel calls both captains over, to try and nip the unrest in the bud.
Back underway, after an extended stoppage in play for bickering, and the football match is back on the agenda for both teams. Tempers have been rising throughout a frustrating half for both sides, and now there are two more players down holding their faces!
Yellow Card Issa Cissokho
Yellow Card Maxwell
TEMPERS FLARING! Cissokho clashes with Maxwell in front of Laurent Blanc, but the referee has everything under control. The crowd is dispersed, and Laurent Duhamel is keen to keep a lid on things, choosing to book both players. PSG players think that it should be worse for the Nantes man.
The hosts are looking much more assured, and continue to look buoyed by their two penalty shouts in as many minutes, from before the half time break. Djordjevic tries to pick out Gakpe in the penalty area with a clever cut-back, but a good interception prevents the Nantes man from having an opportunity to test Douchez.
LAVEZZI! Nantes fail to clear their lines, after smart work in the penalty area under pressure from Verratti, and eventually a Lavezzi shot is deflected behind for the first corner of the second half. The ball flashes across the face of goal, with Alex unable to get the contact required to direct the curling delivery into the back of the net.
Nantes' home crowd remain in good spirits, chanting loudly and urging their team forward. The hosts have managed to string together a couple of attacks in the opening minutes, which is more than they could say from the first half. Riou is quick off his line to punch a Matuidi cross clear of the forehead of Ibrahimovic.
GAKPE! The Togolese midfielder thrashes a half volley wide of the target, after striking the ball while off-balance. Promising signs from the home side, given that it took them over half an hour to threaten Douchez's goal in the first 45 minutes.
We're back underway for a second half that holds great significance in both of these sides' seasons! PSG need to make up for their Coupe de France exit, while Nantes would love a cup final to brighten up what has already been an impressive campaign. The first half was decided by fine margins, so the second period of 45 minutes should offer similar entertainment!
PSG have had two opportunities to kill off the game, as Thiago Silva played an excellent ball through the corridor of uncertainty without success, and Lavezzi was denied by a good stop by Riou. Should this result stay the same, one thing is for sure, Ibrahimovic's 30 yard strike is definitely worthy of taking a side to the cup final.
Verratti could have been accused of handling the ball on the goal line, as the Italian successfully prevented a back post header from crossing the line, before Thiago Silva looked to have bundled Djordjevic to the ground minutes later. The second goal is extremely important in this game, and if the hosts get it, you can expect this passionate crowd to go utterly berserk.
HALF TIME! The referee draws an interesting first half to a close, and this game has had almost everything! Ibrahimovic's early strike was of world class quality, giving PSG the slender 1-0 lead that they're taking into the break. Nantes were quiet for large periods, but could easily have had two penalties.
Good work down the right from Cissokho, who goes on a marauding run, before angling a cross towards the edge of the penalty area. Thiago Silva reads the danger, stepping out of the defensive line smartly to intercept the delivery.
PSG could consider themselves very lucky to still be ahead, despite the balance of play. Two penalty calls against the league leaders were dismissed by the referee, when both situations could so easily have been interpreted differently by the match officials. Blanc will be wanting his side to kill this game off, as soon as possible.
Five minutes until the break, and Nantes now have a belief that didn't seem to exist at kick-off. They've weathered the storm, in horrible conditions, and their fans haven't stopped singing throughout. Les Canaris are being urged on by their vocal supporters, who have been inspired by their side's five minutes of pressure, acting as the all-important twelfth man.
After some moments of tension and aggression, play has finally resumed, with PSG re-asserting themselves as the dominant force. Nantes' mini-resurgence has shown the away side that the hosts can hurt them, given the opportunity, making a goal before the half time break key.
Nantes have finally burst into life in this game, with some fiery squabblings appearing to awaken the Canaries. Djordjevic is still convinced that Thiago Silva hauled him to the ground inside the penalty box, as he looked to divert a cross towards Douchez's goal.
Well, we could have quite a few minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half, and Nantes have certainly managed to get under the skin of their opponents, but I'm not too sure that it was intentional. The home side eventually get to take their free-kick, following a poor Alex challenge on Djordjevic, after a lengthy delay, but Ibrahimovic heads away for yet another corner.
Yellow Card Ezequiel Lavezzi
Thiago Motta goes down, claiming that Djilobodji struck him in the face, despite there seeming to be no contact from the Sengalese defender. The referee has a situation to defuse here, with tensions rising in Stade de la Beaujoire! Yellow cards are being shown too.
DJORDJEVIC! The Nantes number nine goes down on the penalty spot, and the home fans are calling for a penalty, as their key striker seems to think he was dragged to the ground by Thiago Silva! There was contact, but the Nantes man did look to make a meal of it.
VERRATTI! SAVED ON THE LINE BY THE ITALIAN! The young midfielder blocks a goalbound effort from bouncing into an unguarded net, after Douchez missed the corner delivery entirely. Nantes claim that he used his arm, but it looked like the Italy international stopped the ball with his chest!
Nantes win their first corner of the game, as Alex is forced to put a hopeful long-range effort behind. Could the scoreline be levelled against the run of play, from a set piece?
LAVEZZI! Great block from Riou, who atones for his earlier error, racing off his line quickly to block the Uruguayan's effort from just inside the penalty area. The winger burst down the right flank after being fed in down the channel, but Riou stood up tall to meet him. The angle wasn't with him, but that was a real chance.
Often, cup games are said to go against the form book, but this semi-final clash certainly hasn't held any surprises thus far. Nantes look nervous and self-conscious, while PSG are purring into action, slowly working their way through the gears - though the capital-based club could do with a second goal before the break.
It's so, so easy for the away side, it's as though they're participating in a training match. Every player has plenty of time and space, allowing for Blanc's side to stroke the ball around at will, which in turn will presumably tire out Nantes. A very negative opening half an hour from Les Canaris.
Nantes are sitting so deep, that they almost have a back five, with Veretout dropping into the defensive line. Der Zakarian appears to have damage limitation in mind, or at least staying in the game long enough to have a chance of nicking an equaliser.
MATUIDI! The intimidating midfielder ghosts in at the back post, directing a header back across goal, but his attempted square ball can only be kept in by Lavezzi, rather than assisted the Uruguayan in his goalscoring endeavours. Nantes look petrified of a repeat of their 5-0 loss to PSG in recent weeks.
Bessat whips in Nantes first cross of the match, but it's easy for Douchez to collect. The reserve PSG goalkeeper will be pleased with how the match has panned out thus far, he's had very little to do, and Nantes don't look to really possess many threats that could hurt his side.
The home crowd are growing restless, as the visiting side hold onto possession, while Nantes' players timidly press, not wanting to leave gaps for PSG to exploit. This has certainly got rather cagey, with Nantes seemingly waiting for the perfect opportunity to break.
PSG are in total control, and Nantes know it. The home side are sitting in deep banks of four, and desperately trying to press the ball whenever the visiting side move into shooting distance. Given their early breakthrough, the league leaders are quite happy to sit back and be patient.
Nantes are really struggling to get into this game, as they can't string any kind of transitory move together, due to how many players are being forced behind the ball. Douchez is finally called into action for the visitors, but it's simply to claim a poor free-kick delivery.
PSG couldn't have hoped for a better start to this game, in a tricky scenario, but Blanc's men have come out of the traps brilliantly. Their tempo is good, their midfield three have been imperious, and Les Parisiens are carving out chance after chance.
THIAGO SILVA! The Brazilian centre-half looks to slot the ball into the corridor of uncertainty, after picking up a loose ball in the penalty area in the aftermath of a PSG free-kick delivery. The ball whistles past the far post, with two blue shirts unable to turn it home! Very close!
IBRA! The goalscorer lines up his first free-kick of the evening, but cannons his effort into the wall. The home fans are trying to lift their players, bouncing around, clothed in plenty of yellow and green, but Les Canaris have perhaps bitten off more than they can chew against the riches of PSG.
It might have taken a goalkeeping miscue from Riou, but there can be no denying that Ibrahimovic's early strike is a goal good enough to settle any fixture, especially to send a side into a cup final. Sheer magic from the Swede, and PSG can certainly smell more goals in this game, they're not done yet.
Nantes have barely had a touch in the opening minutes, as the home side try to frustrate a PSG side who look very efficient. Desire, hunger and crisp passing have combined to give Blanc's outfit the dream start, which has somewhat dampened the spirits of the hosts.
Well, it sometimes takes something out of nothing to break down resilient underdogs, and PSG have certainly just managed to create such a moment. The league leaders are ahead in the early stages, dominating possession and registering the game's breakthrough goal!
Goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic
GOOOOOOAL! WHAT A STRIKE FROM ZLATAN! Riou's clearance is poor, and the Swedish forward strikes the poor pass back towards goal with his first touch from 30 yards. The ball arrows into the back of the net, dipping over the helpless Riou, to net his 30th goal of the campaign!
LAVEZZI! The Uruguayan forward just about managed to dig the ball from under his feet, ten yards out from goal, but the former Napoli man can only strike the foot of the post! Unfortunate for PSG, but they've started with real hunger.
A strong start from Les Parisiens, who have kept hold of possession for the opening two minutes. The Ligue 1 leaders have a wealth of midfield options, with the transfer deadline day signing of Yohan Cabaye only further deepening Blanc's well of midfield quality.
We are underway in the first half! An excellent atmosphere in Stade de la Beaujoire, as can be expected, and these two sides are potentially 90 minutes away from a domestic cup final! For Nantes, it would be a dream realised, but for PSG, this game is more of an opportunity to achieve their realistic season objectives of dominating French football. But can their star-studded team lead them to cup glory?
When these two sides last faced each other, in Paris, the home side dispatched of Les Canaris with ease, firing five past Riou. Given the occasion and the atmosphere, it's very doubtful that the travelling side will enjoy such offensive freedom. This Nantes side is set up to weather a storm, with plenty of options in midfield to try and frustrate the reigning Ligue 1 champions. Less than ten minutes until kick-off, so be sure to stick with us for all of the action.
New PSG signing Yohan Cabaye is on the bench for the visitors, following his big money move from Premier League outfit Newcastle United, and should the away side take a comfortable lead, the France international will inevitably get some minutes on the field. Blanc has an exceptionally strong squad at his disposal, and it's hard to see anything but a PSG win tonight.
PSG substitutes: Marquinhos, Menez, Digne, Pastore, Sirigu, Ongenda, Cabaye.
PSG starting line-up: Douchez; Van der Wiel, Thiago Silva, Alex, Maxwell; Matuidi, Motta, Verratti; Lucas, Ibrahimovic, Lavezzi.
Nantes substitutes: Bangoura, N'Koudou, Alhadhur, Djidji, Dupe, A. Toure, Shechter.
Nantes starting line-up: Riou; Cissokho, Djilobodji, Vizcarrondo, Veigneau; Veretout; Gakpe, Deaux, Toure, Bessat; Djordjevic.
TEAM NEWS: Aristeguieta, Audel, Pancrate and Nicolita are unavailable for the hosts, but there is a start for Veretout ahead of Ismael Bangoura - perhaps showing some concession towards the attacking talents of this PSG outfit. Dordevic leads the line for Nantes, with Togolese midfielder Gakpe also providing an additional threat for Blanc's men to consider.
TEAM NEWS: Edinson Cavani is sidelined for the visitors, meaning that Blanc opts for a forward three of Ibrahimovic, Lucas and Lavezzi. Marco Verratti returns after suspension, while Nicolas Douchez is given a chance in goal ahead of Sirigu. A very strong side for Les Parisiens, who are taking this game, and their opponents, extremely seriously.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you up to date with all of the action from tonight's high stakes match, with PSG attempting to make up for their early exit from the Coupe de France. Nantes haven't won a game since their last cup outing, picking up one point from their last available nine, meaning that the home side will probably have to put in an out of the ordinary performance to navigate themselves safely into the final.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of tonight's Coupe de la Ligue semi-final clash between Nantes and Paris Saint Germain, with the Ligue 1 leaders heading into this fixture in the knowledge that they need to compensate for their loss in France's other domestic cup competition. Nantes have home advantage, and Stade de la Beaujoire will be rocking, leaving Laurent Blanc's side with a tough test, if they are to progress to the cup final.
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