PSG battle Rennes for right to face Lyon in Coupe de France final

By Paul Myers - RFI
Sports News AP - Aurelien Morissard
APR 3, 2024 LISTEN
AP - Aurelien Morissard

Ligue 1 pacesetters Paris Saint-Germain take on Rennes on Wednesday night at the Parc des Princes for a place in next month's final of the Coupe de France against Lyon.

Pierre Sage's side progressed to the showdown at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille on 25 May following a 3-0 victory over second division Valenciennes.

Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring just after half-time from the penalty spot and the 32-year-old doubled the advantage at the Groupama Stadium in the 57th minute. Substitute Gift Orban added the gloss 15 minutes from time.

PSG lie 23 points ahead of Rennes in Ligue 1 but the Bretons have been something of a bogey side for the team from the capital.

They have won four of their last 10 encounters including a famous victory in the final of the Coupe de France in 2019 where they came from 2-0 down to beat PSG on penalties.

Rennes boss Julien Stéphan, who orchestrated that triumph over PSG five years ago, said: "We need to focus on this particular semi-final and also remember what we've done so well before.

"Obviously, we're not favourites," Stéphan added. "But I think the players are capable of playing beyond their usual levels. That's what they'll need to do if they're to have any chance of going through.


"On the run to the trophy five years ago, we had to beat some of the top teams in Ligue 1 so we know it's very difficult, but it's not impossible."

Rennes and PSG enjoyed contrasting fortunes last weekend in Ligue 1 in preparation for the clash.

Rennes slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Strasbourg while PSG emerged with an impressive 2-0 win at Marseille despite playing for the whole of the second-half with 10 men due to the dismissal of defender Lucas Beraldo.

Star striker Kylian Mbappé was substituted mid way through the second-half with his side leading 1-0. His replacement Gonçalo Ramos slotted in the second in the closing stages to seal the win and maintain PSG's 12-point lead over Brest with seven games remaining.

"I think Rennes are a very good team, who are well prepared defensively," said PSG boss Luis Enrique. "We will need to give something extra to play in a Coupe de France final.

"One more step and we'll be in the final. It's a very powerful incentive," added the 53-year-old Spaniard who has steered PSG to the 2023 French Super Cup.

Victory on Wednesday night would maintain PSG's push for silverware on three fronts.

On Saturday, they entertain bottom-of-the-table Clermont with the aim of keeping their huge cushion at the top of the table.

NextWednesday, PSG host Enrique's old club Barcelona for the first leg of the quarter-final in the Champions League – a competition Enrique won with the Catalans in 2015.

"After eight months of the season, we're at the perfect moment," said Enrique.