PSG, Lyon advance in French Cup as third-tier Red Star shock Lens


Paris (AFP) – Kylian Mbappe grabbed a pair of goals as holders Paris Saint-Germain eased into the French Cup last 16 on Saturday with a 3-0 victory at Brest, while Ligue 1 title rivals Lyon defeated second-division Sochaux 5-2. 

Red Star, five-time winners of the competition now languishing in the French third tier, struck twice in the last seven minutes to eliminate top-flight Lens 3-2.

In Brest, Mbappe returned from a one-match ban and fired PSG ahead on nine minutes, running from just inside the halfway line and drilling a left-footed shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Julian Draxler set up Pablo Sarabia for a second goal before half-time, the Spaniard sweeping home for the second game in a row having hit the winner against Bordeaux in midweek. 

Angel Di Maria came off the bench for his first appearance in a month following a thigh injury, a timely boost alongside the return of Marco Verratti ahead of next week’s second leg against Barcelona in the Champions League last 16.

Verratti created PSG’s third, somewhat inadvertently, as he prodded across goal and straight into the chest of Mbappe, wrong-footing Brest goalkeeper Sebastien Cibois. 

Seventeen-year-old Rayan Cherki scored twice for Lyon as they overcame a spirited effort from Ligue 2 side Sochaux, winners of the competition in 2007.

Algerian defender Djamel Benlamri headed Lyon ahead at home before Maxwel Cornet volleyed in a second to put the hosts in control.

Chris Bedia pulled a goal back for Sochaux only for Cherki to restore Lyon’s two-goal cushion before half-time with a crisp low finish.

Bedia’s second of the game again gave Sochaux hope but Jason Denayer nodded in from a corner and Cherki completed the victory three minutes from time.

– ‘Everything is possible’ –

Red Star dumped out Lens, fifth in Ligue 1, at the historic Bauer stadium in Saint Ouen in the northern Paris suburbs. 

“In the French Cup, everything is possible,” said Alan Dzabana who hit his side’s 90th-minute winner.

Pape Meissa Ba gave Red Star a 21st-minute lead. Winger Benjamin Gomel, who came through the Lens youth system, crossed from the right and Ba controlled the ball and fired home. 

Lens took a while to adjust to the artificial surface but levelled when Facundo Medina headed in Ismael Boura’s corner at the near post in the 29th minute.

Cheick Doucoure gave the visitors the lead with a powerful shot into the roof of the net in the 49th minute.

Red Star drew encouragement from a group of around 30 supporters who gathered on a concourse outside the stadium, even though the match was being played behind closed doors, as well as the many fans leaning out of windows behind the Lens goal.

They changed their front three after 77 minutes and hit back.

“At 2-1, they settled into a comfort zone and our substitutes made the difference,” said Dzabana, one of the replacements. 

Diego Michel, another sub, pounced on a rebound in the 83rd minute after Lens goalkeeper Wuilker Farinez had parried a free-kick.

In the 90th minute, Dzabana met a cross at the near post with a left-foot shot that caught Farinez flat-footed. 

Founded in 1897 by Jules Rimet, the man who created the World Cup, Red Star won the French Cup for the first time 100 years ago in 1921 with their most recent Cup triumph coming in 1942. 

In another upset Saturday, fourth-tier Le Puy beat Ligue 1 strugglers Lorient 1-0.

Lenny Joseph outpaced the visiting defence to finish off a 61st minute counter-attack and give Le Puy, who play in National 2, victory over Lorient, who are 17th in the top division.

Metz won 4-0 at second-division Valenciennes, while Montpellier shook off fifth-tier Ales 2-1.

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