Paris Saint-Germain cruised into the quarter-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue with a 2-0 win against great rivals Olympique de Marseille, who played more than an hour of this clash with a man down.
The match was finely poised until Rod Fanni was harshly dismissed for a foul inside the box on Guillaume Hoarau, but Thiago Silva showed no clemency as he converted the resultant penalty. After the break, PSG dominated and added a second through Jeremy Menez, but they could have certainly won by a more emphatic margin.
A tight encounter was forecast and for the opening 20 minutes such predictions seemed accurate as Marseille warded off PSG’s early vigour and settled into the game. Mathieu Bodmer scooped a glorious chance over the top for the hosts, but Mathieu Valbuena had gone close at the other end with a curling effort from the edge of the box.
When Hoarau went down easily under Fanni’s challenge, referee Anthony Gautier wasted no time pointing to the spot and dismissing the centre-back for a last-man challenge. Thiago Silva stroked the ball into the corner of the net, giving les Parisiens the advantage.
Although down numerically, Marseille coped with the challenge well, as they raised their game. Benoit Cheyrou mustered their best effort, but this was held well by Nicolas Douchez in the home net.
OM were not content with a damage-limitation exercise after the break, but though they went close with an Andre Ayew header, they looked vulnerable on the counter and moments later an individual run from Javier Pastore saw the Argentine fire just over.
In a similar move, PSG moved decisively clear of their opponents. Menez controlled brilliantly to burst clear of the back-four before launching a ferocious shot into the roof of Mandanda’s net from well inside the box.
Further goals could have followed for Carlo Ancelotti’s men. The exciting Menez once again got clear, but his clip over the goalkeeper was cleared on the line by Kassim Abdallah. Teenage substitute Adrien Rabiot then delivered a magnificent cross for Hoarau to glance just too high before fizzing a fine effort of his own just past moments later.
When Cheyrou hit the post with a free-kick late on, it was simply the final throes of OM’s effort.
Marseille’s three-year control of the Coupe de la Ligue has been broken, and in a rather meek manner. Paris Saint-Germain, meanwhile, will automatically be made favourites to claim their rivals’ title, and this was a performance deserving of such a status.