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PSG maintain hunt for hat trick of cup titles
Paris Saint-Germain continued their quest for a hat trick of French Cups with a 2-0 victory on Wednesday night at Niort. Javier Pastore and Edinson Cavani struck in the last 12 minutes to kill off the second division outfit.
PSG are attempting to emulate Red Star and Lille as the only teams to have won the trophy three years on the trot. Red Star's successes came in the early years of the competition between 1921 and 1923. Lille's triple followed the Second World War.
PSG beat Marseille 4-2 to lift last season's trophy. Another victory in May will give them a record 11th triumph.
However, three more games need to be won before the Coupe Charles Simon can be hoisted. And Monaco loom large on the horizon.
The Ligue 1 leaders progressed to the last eight on Wednesday night with a 4-3 win at Marseille. Remy Cabella levelled for the hosts after 84 minutes to send the tie into extra-time. Benjamin Mendy gave Monaco a 3-2 lead just before the end of the first period. Cabella brought his side parity six minutes into the second period.
Marseille's joy was short lived. Thomas Lemar struck two minutes later. "We did well to score the extra goal," said Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim. "It's a sign that the team likes to play to win. I'm also happy for the players who aren't playing a lot of games. They came in and did a great job and that certainly gives me options for other games."
Jardim added: "Obviously I don't like conceding goals but for me it's great that we scored four. That's an incredible achievement. Marseille are a good outfit with quality players."
The defeat ends Marseille's thrust for silverware this campaign. They are seventh in Ligue 1 with 39 points after 27 of the season's 38 games. They are 20 points from third-placed Nice who occupy the final slot for access to next year's Uefa Champions League.
By contrast Monaco have possibilities in four competitions. On 1 April, they play PSG in the League Cup final. Jardim's men lead the top flight by three points and they also have a chance to progress to the last eight of the Uefa Champions League.
"Marseille were a very efficient opponent," he added. "I would have preferred to have played 90 minutes. Our next division one match against Nantes is on Sunday. That's not a lot of time to recover but it's good to be in a lot of competitions.
"I certainly wasn't going to come to Marseille with a team of youngsters. That wouldn't be respectful to the competition and it's not the sort of image of Monaco that I want to project."
Monaco will play either Lille or fourth tier Bergerac in the last eight. PSG will take on third division Avranches after they got past second division Strasbourg in a penalty shootout. The match had ended 1-1.
The other quarter-finals will pit Guingamp - 2-0 winners over third division Quevilly - against Fréjus-Saint Raphaël and Angers will face Bordeaux.