Against a formidable Paris outfit, the Red & Whites were defeated in the final of the Cup of the Ligue.
After a superb sound and light show, the unveiling of the trophy by Tony Estanguet and the symbolic kick-off taken by Youri Djorkaeff, the final got under way at a bouncing Parc OL. PSG put the pressure on from the start and were ahead within the opening minutes. Di Maria got away from the Monegasque defence and found himself one-on-one with Subasic. The Argentine laid the ball off to a marginally offside Draxler on the right, for the German to slide into the empty net and make it 1-0 to PSG. The Parisians enjoyed total dominance in the first twenty minutes, but the Red & Whites chased the ball tirelessly, and when Moutinho swung in a corner from the left, Germain arrived at the near post to flick a header that sailed narrowly past the PSG goal, with Jemerson just unable to get a touch at the back stick.
LEMAR FINDS THE TOP CORNER, DI MARIA RESTORES PSG’S LEAD
The chance gave the Monagasques renewed energy, and Sidibé and Silva combined down the right. After the Portuguese midfielder’s superb scooped pass, his French teammate darted into the box and pulled the ball back for Lemar, who arrowed a wonderful shot past the helpless Trapp and into the top corner from 15 yards out (26 mins) to equalise. The sides were on terms, but it took an incredible double save from Subasic to prevent Cavani from knocking in Di Maria’s corner (36 mins). Trapp also showed fine reflexes to keep Germain’s shot following a corner by Lemar (43 mins), but it was PSG who had the final word of the first half. The ball found its way to Draxler lurking outside the Monaco box, and he played in Di Maria who was right on the limit of being offside. The Argentine duly slotted home to put his team back in front just before break.
CAVANI PUTS DAYLIGHT BETWEEN THE SIDES
It was a hammer blow for AS Monaco, and things went from bad to worse when Cavani opened up a two goal lead for PSG in the 54th minute, volleying an unstoppable effort past Subasic from the Parisians’ first chance of the second half! On the hour mark, Uruguayan spurned a golden opportunity to net his side’s fourth after being set up by Di Maria, but contrived to miss the target with the goal gaping (61 mins). It was a helping hand that allowed AS Monaco to keep a foothold in the game and they thought they had reduced the deficit in the 68th minute. Bakayoko slammed home Lemar’s free-kick, but referee Mr Schneider brought back play for a foul by Dirar (on as a sub for Germain, ed.) on Thiago Silva… A few minutes later, Mendy danced his way through the Parisian defence 40 yards out and found himself in the PSG box, but Aurier tracked back to block the new French international’s attempted pass with a last-ditch block (75 mins).
CAVANI HAS THE LAST WORD
Moments later, Cardona replaced Lemar and quickly made an impression with a header that shaved Trapp’s left-hand post (78 mins). Despite a good response from the Monegasques, PSG showed no signs of letting the match get away from them. Subasic deflected a strike from Di Maria (81 mins), before the Argentine was called off-side after an attempted lob (86 mins). Dirar worked hard down the right flank, but his crosses found no takers. Mbappé managed to find a yard of space down the left, but his ball into the middle for Cardona was collected by Trapp. The final was ticking towards its conclusion when Di Maria once again got free down the left and pulled the ball back for Cavani, who smashed the ball high into the net to make it 4-1. PSG ended up deserved winners and secured the trophy for the fourth year running. It was a disappointing night for AS Monaco, but with so many important games coming up, there can be no room for despondency. Daghe Munegu.