PSG wary of French Cup minnows

By 19 January 2012 09:16

Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain will hope for a safe passage to the French Cup last 16 when they tackle fifth-tier minnows Sable-sur-Sarthe at Le Mans' MMArena on Friday evening.

PSG were also drawn against opponents from the fifth division in the previous round but required a 93rd-minute winner from Diego Lugano to secure an embarrassingly narrow 2-1 victory over Saint-Colomban Locmine.

The game was Carlo Ancelotti's first competitive match in charge of the big-spending side from the French capital, but he has since seen his team preserve their three-point lead in Ligue 1 with a convincing 3-1 win over Toulouse last weekend.

With Lugano injured and Milan Bisevac set to be rested, Zoumana Camara will partner captain Mamadou Sakho in the centre of the PSG defence, while Kevin Gameiro is poised to lead the attack after coming on as a substitute against Toulouse.

"We've already had the experience with Locmine," said Ancelotti at Thursday's pre-game press conference.

"Tomorrow (Friday) will be a difficult match. Every team in France wants to do something special in the cup. But it's also very important for us."

Cup holders and reigning French champions Lille fell seven points behind PSG after losing 2-0 at Marseille last Sunday and they will look to bounce back when they visit fourth-tier Compiegne on Saturday.

Marseille are now gunning for glory on four fronts after closing to within two points of the Champions League places in Ligue 1 and they will bid to keep their quest for an 11th French Cup crown alive against Ligue 2 outfit Le Havre on Sunday.

Le Havre are the former club of Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and he said he was looking forward to seeing some familiar faces.

"I've already played against them when they were in Ligue 1 and it's very moving," said the France international.

"I hold vey good memories of the town and the club. It was my whole youth; a club where I learnt the job and where I grew up.

"In that respect, Le Havre gave me a huge amount. But I still hope we qualify!"

Lyon visit fourth-tier Vendee Lucon on Sunday, in a game that will take place at Nantes' famous Stade de la Beaujoire, while Montpellier -- currently second in the top flight -- travel north to Ligue 2 Tours on Monday.

The trip to Stade de la Vallee du Cher will have particular resonance for current Ligue 1 top scorer Olivier Giroud, who made his name in a prolific two-year spell at Tours before signing for Montpellier in January 2010.

The only all-Ligue 1 tie of the round sees Rennes visit Nice on Saturday.


Friday (1930GMT):

Sable-sur-Sarthe v Paris Saint-Germain


Bourg-Peronnas v Ajaccio (1300GMT)

Limoges v Drancy (1400GMT)

Compiegne v Lille (1445GMT)

Dijon v Istres (1530GMT)

Niort v Orleans (1700GMT)

Creteil v Bordeaux (1700GMT)

Auxerre v Chateauroux (1800GMT)

Quevilly v Angers (1800GMT)

Valence v Evian (1900GMT)

Nice v Rennes (1945GMT)


Ajaccio GFCO v Troyes (1400GMT)

Vendee Lucon v Lyon (1500GMT)

Valenciennes v Bastia (1700GMT)

Marseille v Le Havre (1945GMT)

Monday (1930GMT):

Tours v Montpellier

Source: AFP