Rare home win for Marseille against rival PSG in French Cup
PARIS — Marseille celebrated its first home win against Paris Saint-Germain in more than a decade to reach the quarterfinals of the French Cup, beating its bitter rival 2-1 on Wednesday.
Cheered on by buoyant fans at a packed Stade Velodrome, Marseille had rarely looked so dominant against PSG since the Paris club started its supremacy in France after Qatari investors took over.
Marseille's previous win at the Velodrome against PSG in all competitions dated back to November 2011.
Alexis Sanchez put the hosts in front in the fixture known as “Le Classique” of French soccer, and Ukraine attacking midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi scored the winner after Sergio Ramos pulled one back.
“We are delighted to progress to the next round, the French Cup is one of our goals,” Marseille captain Valentin Rongier said. “Our fans had been waiting for that win, we are so happy to share it with them.”
It was PSG's third loss this season. It came ahead of a major test as Bayern Munich travels to the French capital for the first leg of their round-of-16 match in the Champions League on Feb. 14.
Igor Tudor’s players imposed an intense pressing from the start that destabilized PSG. Second-best in all sectors, the visitors were pegged in their own half and Marseille piled up chances in the first half.
The hosts could have been awarded a penalty after Achraf Hakimi elbowed the ball in the area, but referee Francois Letexier ignored calls from Marseille players.
Marseille came close with efforts from Sead Kolasinac and Cengiz Under before Sanchez dribbled past Sergio Ramos on the right side and cut back inside the box, with the Spain defender bringing him down.
This time, Letexier pointed to the spot and Sanchez wrong-footed Gianluigi Donnarumma in the 31th minute for his 11th goal in a Marseille shirt.
On the back foot, PSG had to rely on individual talent to respond. Neymar hit the post with a long-range shot.
Marseille, however, continued its dominance and could have doubled its lead before halftime as Jonathan Clauss forced a good save from Donnarumma on the counter.
But it was PSG which pulled one back against the run of play just before the break when Ramos, left unmarked in the box, headed home a corner.
PSG, missing Kylian Mbappe through injury, played higher in the second half and the game was more balanced, progressing at a slower pace.
Marseille again went ahead in the 57th when Malinovskyi, who joined the southern side on loan during the winter transfer window, fired a superb strike from outside the box past Donnarumma after defenders failed to clear the ball. PSG pressed hard in the closing stages but could not find an edge.
PSG and Marseille are first and second in the French league, respectively. They will meet again on Feb. 26 at the Velodrome in the league.
Earlier, French Cup holder Nantes snatched a late equalizer against Angers before prevailing in a penalty shootout to advance to the quarterfinals.
After conceding an early goal, Nantes struggled to find an edge until Florent Mollet beat goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni with a powerful half-volley with three minutes left.
The match finished 1-1 and Nantes' players were flawless during the 4-2 shootout while Amine Salama and Faouzi Ghoulam missed for the hosts.
Lyon wasted a two-goal lead but also advanced 4-2 on penalties against top-tier rival Lille after finishing 2-2.
Goals from Ryan Cherki and Alexandre Lacazette had given Lyon a 2-0 advantage after 21 minutes. Jonathan David pulled one back in the 29th before Edon Zhegrova leveled soon after the hour-mark. Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes then denied Mohamed Bayo's effort during the shootout before Timothy Weah hit the crossbar.
Second-division side Rodez beat Auxerre 3-2, with Grenoble and Annecy also advancing. Reims lost 3-1 at Toulouse.
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Samuel Petrequin, The Associated Press