By Samindra Kunti
April 3 – Paris Saint-Germain won the French League Cup for the fourth consecutive season with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Monaco to alleviate some of the pressure on their coach Unai Emery.
At the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, a venue during Euro 2016, PSG faced off against their championship rivals Monaco in Lyon. New signing Julian Draxler opened the score from an offside position after four minutes, but Thomas Lemar equalized with a superb strike.
Then Angel Di Maria and Edison Cavani stamped their authority on the match. The Argentina international scored and provided two assists. Cavani delivered again in a big match with a brace after the break. His two thunderous strikes knocked out Monaco, who, without Fabinho and Falcao, offered little response.
The Parisians were composed and in control throughout the 90 minutes as they seek to win the domestic treble, emulating their achievements of the past two seasons in what would be scant consolation for their traumatic elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Barcelona. The Catalan giants reversed a 4-0 defeat from the first leg with an improbable 6-1 victory at the Camp Nou.
The defeat plunged PSG into a crisis, with question marks over the future of Basque coach Emery and rumblings in the board room. In Ligue 1, the club from the capital has not been convincing. They have struggled to withstand Monaco’s league challenge and currently trail them by three points.
Leonardo Jardim’s side had won six matches in a row and scored 18 goals on the way to the final. Monaco did progress to the last eight of the Champions League following a superb two-legged display against Manchester City.
The 4-1 result may have somewhat halted Monaco’s momentum. “I am confident about the title,” said PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi in the mixed zone. “Of course, it was very important for us to win this match. Not just for the silverware as such, but for the championship. I think that, now, our opponents wil drop their mental level. We have gained a lot of confidence, this match has to help us in having confidence. It is not over yet, everyone wants to work and works every day.”
But whatever the outcome of Ligue 1, change is afoot in Paris. Sporting director Oliver Letang is set to leave the French capital, according to French daily Le Parisien. Letang’s influence has dwindled ever since the arrival of Patrick Kluivert last summer. The Dutchman is director of football at the club.
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