PARIS: A second-half brace by Lucas Moura handed a shadow Paris Saint-Germain side a 2-0 win away to Guingamp on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as the Ligue 1 champions warmed up for their decisive date with Manchester City.
The Brazilian opened the scoring with a penalty 11 minutes into the second half and struck again in the 71st minute as PSG triumphed in a game that coach Laurent Blanc had more or less admitted was an inconvenience he could have done without.
PSG go to England for the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday up against it after a 2-2 draw in Paris last Wednesday.
With that trip in mind, and with Paris having already secured a fourth consecutive French title last month, Blanc sent out an almost unrecognisable starting line-up in Brittany against opponents who began the day six points above the relegation zone.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Angel Di Maria, Thiago Silva, Thiago Motta, Edinson Cavani and Maxwell were all rested, with goalkeeper Kevin Trapp and captain for the day Blaise Matuidi the only players retained from the side that started at home to City.
“I am satisfied with their performance, especially in the second half,” said Blanc, who sent out the youngest team to start a league game for PSG in quarter of a century, with Matuidi the elder statesman on his 29th birthday.
“The players out there were still representing Paris Saint-Germain and when you do that you owe it to yourself to be irreproachable.
“Let’s not forget there were still players out there who will certainly play at Man City. So it was good for them to gain confidence and playing time, because it’s going to be a big match on Tuesday.”
Matuidi will not play in England due to suspension, while the presence of Trapp must be in doubt after he came off at half time, with Salvatore Sirigu taking his place, following a collision with team-mate Layvin Kurzawa.
Trapp hurt his knee after crashing into Kurzawa, who was left with what looked like a broken nose but was able to carry on.
The changes meant PSG were not their usual fearsome selves and a Guingamp side unbeaten in their last three outings had the best chances in the first period.
However, Jimmy Briand had an effort disallowed for offside before Mevlut Erding, sliding in, failed to make contact with a low Jonathan Martins Pereira cross that was asking to be turned in.
Instead, PSG took the lead early in the second half, Lucas rolling home the spot-kick after a foul inside the box by Jeremy Sorbon on the 18-year-old Christopher Nkunku.
Kurzawa set up the second goal, playing a one-two with Matuidi down the left and picking out Lucas, who took a touch before slotting low past Jonas Loessl for his eighth in the league this season.