Big guns narrowly survive in French Cup
Paris Saint Germain coach Paul Le Guen finally took revenge on his French Cup jinx club with a 1-0 victory at Montlucon.
Le Guen, who played for PSG during their golden days of the 1990s, was twice beaten at amateur club Montlucon, in 1997 with PSG as a player and then in 2005 with Lyon as coach.
Meanwhile, Marseille, a record 10-time French Cup champions, survived a major scare to go through at the expense of fourth division Besancon who had been just eight minutes from a famous victory. But Marseille, who lost to minnows Carquefou in the round of 16 last season, levelled from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute before squeezing into the next round on a penalty shootout and a possible clash with league leaders Lyon.
Monaco also struggled to overcome fifth division Blagnac, needing a 21st minute own goal from defender Frederic Marquet.
Le Guen savoured the moment of finally settling the scores. "It did me a lot of good to win here after defeats with PSG in 1997, then with Lyon in 2005, both times on penalties," Le Guen said. "It was very painful."
Stephane Sessegnon's second-half goal propelled PSG into the last 32 to the satisfaction of coach Le Guen. "It was a good victory," added the coach. "We did what we needed to do. Even though we only won 1-0, I feel we played a good match. I hope we can continue in the same vein and we are still on course in four competitions."
Sessegnon's goal came in the 52nd minute after PSG had upped the pressure following the break. He was unmarked when he fired home at the far post with his right foot following a Jerome Rothen corner.
Eric Gerets' Marseille went behind in the 67th minute through an own goal by Ronald Zubar as he attempted to clear the ball from danger as Besancon striker Yohann Rangdet closed in. Romain Hamouma might have got a second for Besancon as he only had Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda to beat, but defender Taye Taiwo managed to clear.
Taiwo then converted an 82nd minute penalty to send the tie into extra-time before Marseille clinched the shootout 5-4 and a last 32 tie against either defending champions Lyon or Concarneau.
Saint Etienne ended their three-year losing French Cup record on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Bordeaux to reach the last 32 and keep coach Alain Perrin on course for an unprecedented Cup treble. Bafetimbi Gomis grabbed the winner in the 76th minute on a treacherous and slippy surface at Bordeaux's Jacques-Chaban-Delmas stadium. Perrin coached Sochaux to the 2007 French Cup title and repeated the success with Lyon last season.
Two first division clubs exited the competition this weekend, Nancy losing to fourth division Romorantin on penalties and Auxerre falling to Ajaccio also after a shootout.