PSG, Marseille and Montpellier march on
In-form Paris Saint-Germain reached the League Cup semi-finals with a 3-1 victory away at Valenciennes today, extending their unbeaten run to five matches in all competitions on Wednesday.
Goals by Zoumana Camara, Christophe Jallet and Pegguy Luyindula saw them come from behind after Mathieu Dossevi's opener for the hosts and avert defeat at the hands of their coach Antoine Kombouare's former club.
Kombouare, who as a player was a member of the last PSG side to win the league title in 1994, said that their success at the moment was welcome but it needed to yield some silverware by season's end. "I see that the squad is ambitious and wants to go as far as possible in all competitions," said Kombouare, who turns 47 next week. "Of course that brings some risks with it. To be playing in all competitions is great, but the target is to win at least one trophy."
Holders Marseille, meanwhile, bounced back from their defeat by PSG with a 2-1 home win over Monaco. The hosts had to claw their way back after trailing Monaco, who had taken the lead through a Mathieu Contadeur penalty. However, goals by Ghanaian 2010 FIFA World Cup™ star Andre Ayew and Spanish summer signing Cesar Azpilicueta saw Didier Deschamps side safely into the semi-finals where they join Auxerre, who beat St Etienne 2-0 on Tuesday, and Montpellier, 2-1 winners over Lille. Hasan Kabze struck after 28 and 52 minutes to put the home side in command, while Lille reduced the deficit on 68 minutes through substitute Eden Hazard but were unable to find an equaliser.
Valenciennes opened the scoring and brought PSG straight back down to earth, after their superb 2-1 league win over champions Marseille on Sunday, as Dossevi's volley deflected off the outstretched leg of Camara - who had originally lost the ball - and beat goalkeeper Gregory Coupet. It was the worst possible start for 31-year-old Camara who had earned himself a rare starting spot, but the central defender redeemed himself in the ninth minute as he rose unopposed to head past Nicolas Penneteau in the home goal and level the match.
PSG dominated from then on and should have gone 2-1 up in the 25th minute as first France international striker Guillaume Hoarau saw a shot blocked and then Stephane Sessegnon's effort from the block went wide of the right hand post. However, the visitors took the lead finally a minute later as Valeneiennes lost possession in the middle of the pitch and the ball was headed by Hoarau out to Jallet, who kept his composure and planted a fine cross shot from the right of the area past Penneteau.
"This is a cup we would like to win and we have come through today in what was a difficult match," said man of the match Jallet. "We are in a good period at the moment and long may it continue. There is good morale and spirit amongst us and that is reflected out on the pitch."
The hosts were unfortunate not to draw level 10 minutes from the break as young midfielder Gregory Loriot's fine volley from the edge of the area produced a brilliant fingertip save from Coupet, who diverted it onto the left hand post. PSG wrapped up their place in the last four in the 51st minute with a nicely worked move that saw Sessegnon's delightfully weighted pass find Luyindula running on into the area and the experienced striker slid it past Penneteau into the far corner of the net.