• Monaco outguns Marseille, PSG wades into Cup quarters

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    PARIS: Thomas Lemar swept Monaco into the quarterfinals of the French Cup in a thrilling 4-3 extra-time victory at Marseille on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), while holders Paris Saint-Germain trudged past second tier Niort 2-0.

    League leaders Monaco led three times at the Stade Velodrome through an own goal from Marseille keeper Yohann Pele and strikes from Kylian Mbappe and Benjamin Mendy.

    But Marseille, coming off Sunday’s 5-1 thrashing against PSG, fought back on each occasion courtesy of Dimitri Payet and a brace from substitute Remy Cabella — the second coming after Mendy had put Monaco 3-2 ahead in extra time.

    PSG’s Argentinian midfielder Javier Pastore (left) scores the opening goal during the French Cup footbal match Niort vs PSG (Paris Saint-Germain) on Thursday at the Rene-Gaillard stadium in Niort. AFP PHOTO

    However, there was no way back once Lemar struck on 113 minutes as Monaco, who will meet PSG in the French League Cup final on April 1, remained alive in all four competitions this season.

    Javier Pastore and Edinson Cavani scored late as PSG saw off Niort amidst a torrential downpour in western France in their last-16 tie.

    Argentine midfielder Pastore came off the bench to bundle in a free-kick from Christopher Nkunku on 78 minutes at a rain-soaked Stade Rene Gaillard before Cavani struck his 36th goal of the campaign deep into stoppage time.

    The capital club have won the competition each of the past two seasons and are bidding for a record-breaking 11th title after matching Marseille’s haul by beating their arch rivals in last year’s final.

    “(The pitch) was unplayable but in times like this you have to look for something else. We demonstrated tonight that we don’t just have talent, we also have the state of mind to match,” said midfielder Blaise Matuidi.

    “We showed we could also be fighters. We know in the French Cup, to win this competition, you also have to get through matches like that and when you win, it’s just as good.”

    Twice former winners Guingamp, who lifted the trophy in 2009 and 2014, saw off third-tier Quevilly 2-1 with second-half goals from Alexandre Mendy and Nill de Pauw.

    Third division Avranches reached the last eight after overcoming three-time champions Strasbourg 6-5 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.

    AFP

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