`Tired` Monaco seek PSG upset in French Cup
Paris Saint-Germain are gunning for an unprecedented domestic treble as they host Monaco on Wednesday in the French Cup quarter-finals.
Paris: Paris Saint-Germain are gunning for an unprecedented domestic treble as they host Monaco on Wednesday in the French Cup quarter-finals.
PSG are currently second in Ligue 1, one point behind leaders Lyon after being held to a frustrating 0-0 Sunday draw by Monaco, a team they meet for the second time in four days.
But PSG know the way to the Stade de France as they already booked their ticket for the French League Cup final next month against Bastia.
PSG face a tough challenge on Wednesday as they take on one of the few top flight sides remaining.
And Monaco love nothing more than to live up to their giant-killer reputation, as Arsenal learnt the hard way last week in Champions League action.
The French Cup has been identified as a priority by Paris president Nasser al-Khelaifi as the Ligue 1 giants have yet to lift the trophy in the Qatar-fuelled era.
PSG, however, seem to be in a tight spot with the return leg of their Champions` League clash against Chelsea looming on March 11 while the Ligue 1 leaves Laurent Blanc`s men with little room for error.
Injuries to Thiago Motta (calf), Yohan Cabaye (thigh), Serge Aurier (thigh) and Lucas (adductor), on top of Zlatan Ibrahimovic`s two-game suspension, make things even harder for the capital club.
In this context, Monaco could appear as firm favourites. But coach Leonardo Jardim played it down.
"We will try to have a good game. We are more tired than PSG and our squad isn`t as big. We have 18-19 players and two keepers. In the back, we have two players injured and two others who are suspended. We will have to find a solution but we`re working on it," the Portuguese explained.
"Wednesday`s game will be different. We will have fans backing us up and we`ll have to recover," PSG`s Blaide Matuidi responded in accord.
"The fresher team can certainly come out on top."
In an early match on Tuesday, six-time winners Saint-Etienne head to Boulogne-sur-Mer, who ply their trade in their third-tier.
The Ligue 1 side are seeking to revive former glories to end a title drought in the tournament stretching all the way back to 1977.
And, as coach Christophe Galtier vowed, Les Verts, will take the encounter seriously.
"The Cup is important, it`s been too long since Saint-Etienne reached a semi-final. It`s part of the club`s DNA", he explained.
The tie will be significant too for Boulogne `keeper Jody Viviani. Now 33, Viviani spent four years with Saint-Etienne as their backup shot-stopper, appearing 40 times for the club.
"It`s always nice to face Saint-Etienne. I know quite a few guys over there, including Loic Perrin and Moustapha Bayal Sall whom I played with," he recalled before denying rosy memories would cloud his judgement.
"We certainly must not stop to watch Saint-Etienne play. We`ll have to make all the efforts to stay united and play together to match our opponent," Viviani added.
"We are, after all, just two games away from the Stade de France."
In other games, title holders Guingamp, who slumped to a third defeat in a week after their 1-0 loss against Nantes, travel to neutral site Lorient where they play fourth-tier Concarneau, while Brest take on Auxerre in a Ligue 2 classic.
Fixtures (all times GMT):
Boulogne v St Etienne (2000)
Paris Saint-Germain v Monaco (2000)
Brest v Auxerre (1800)
Concarneau v Guingamp (2000)