Didier Deschamps' men won for the eighth straight game in all competitions as they edged out les Aiglons 2-1 to book a third consecutive Coupe de la Ligue Final date
Holders Olympique de Marseille beat OGC Nice 2-1 to make their third straight Coupe de la Ligue Final against Olympique Lyonnais after a competitive game at Stade Velodrome.
Goals from Loic Remy and Brandao either side of Anthony Mounier's equaliser ensured an eighth straight win for OM in all competitions as the two-time winners ultimately prevailed. Mathieu Valbuena later saw red for the hosts as did Franck Dja Dje for the visitors.
Didier Deschamps named a strong line up for the semi-final with the only change being Lucho Gonzalez, who departed for Porto, replaced by Brandao from the XI who beat Rennes at the weekend.
Rene Marisglia named three ex-Marseille players in the shape of Fabrice Abriel, Elliot Grandin and Renato Civelli, but were dealt a blow earlier in the day with the news that midfielder Emerse Fae was advised to quit the game for health reasons.
Despite a subdued start at Stade Velodrome, it would be the hosts who would grab an early lead after 17 minutes. Civelli, under pressure from the energetic Brandao was hurried into a defensive mistake as he aimlessly cleared a ball towards Loic Remy. The France international, on a fine run of form recently, calmly curled the ball into the top corner for his 16th goal of the season.
Les Aiglons were distinctly average for much of the first half as the hosts kept them at bay. Abriel instigated a move for Anthony Mounier, who couldn't manouevre an effort despite the options afforded to him. Minutes later, Kevin Anin pinpointed a pass for Franck Dja Dje, who rushed his shot as Steve Mandanda remained untroubled.
Just before half-time, Marsiglia's men were beginning to up their attacking efforts, and it paid off. Remy turned from hero to villain after he was fatally dispossessed by Grandin who in turn slipped a through ball to Dja Dje on the flank. The Ivorian sent in a threatening low ball into the box, in which Mounier evaded his markers to tap in past a hapless Mandanda as the sides entered the interval level.
It would be Marseille who regained the lead 12 minutes after the break. Brandao, back at the club after a year-long loan in Brazil, smashed home an effort after Francois Clerc's mistake was punished by Morgan Amalfitano as L'OM went ahead.
Controversy reigned minutes later when Mathieu Valbuena, already on a yellow card, appeared to have taken a free-kick too early. Referee Clement Turpin deemed it sufficient of a second booking, and swiftly issued a red card to the winger, who will now miss the side's crunch game against Lyon at the weekend.
Nice failed to offer something of a response, as they were restricted to sporadic efforts, notably from Julien Sable, who's strike was saved by Mandanda. Dja Dje was shown a straight red for a lunge on Cesar Azpilicueta as the visitors ultimately failed in their attempt to reach the tournament final for the first time since 2006.
Following the victory, Marseille contest their third straight Coupe de la Ligue final against Lyon at the Stade de France on April 14. Les Gones are also the visitors at the Velodrome on Sunday, with Rene Marsiglia's side entertaining relegation strugglers Ajaccio in Ligue 1.