Holders PSG paired with Guingamp or Caen in Coupe de France

By Sports Desk January 07, 2021

Paris Saint-Germain will visit either Guingamp or Caen when they begin their Coupe de France defence in the round of 64.

PSG won the competition last season as former head coach Thomas Tuchel masterminded a treble triumph, beating Saint-Etienne 1-0 in the final.

That successful campaign started away to sixth-tier Linas-Montlhery and Mauricio Pochettino's PSG will be on the road again after being drawn against Guingamp or Caen.

The Ligue 2 sides are set to face one another on January 20 for the right to host the French champions in February.

PSG have won the trophy a record 13 times, including five of the past six editions.

Saint-Etienne are also away - to Nancy or Sochaux - but Ligue 1 leaders Lyon will welcome Chateauroux or Ajaccio to the Groupama Stadium.

Marseille will visit Troyes or Auxerre, while Monaco are heading for Clermont or Grenoble.

Lille face Ligue 1 opposition in the form of struggling Dijon, and fourth visit seventh as Rennes go to Angers.

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    Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino declared himself "satisfied" with what he saw from Neymar in the Ligue 1 leaders' 0-0 draw with rivals Marseille in Le Classique.

    Neymar returned to the squad after missing PSG's Champions League win over RB Leipzig on Tuesday with a groin injury and started up front alongside Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi on Sunday.

    That reunion did not produce the desired effect, with the vaunted attacking trio unable to find the net away to Marseille at the Velodrome. 

    PSG were forced to play with 10 men from the 57th minute, when star full-back Achraf Hakimi was sent off.

    That tactical disadvantage forced Neymar to drop back into the midfield after Thilo Kehrer replaced Angel Di Maria just past the hour.

    Neymar gave way himself in the 83rd minute, as Georginio Wijnaldum came on to see out the draw. 

    It was the first 0-0 between Marseille and PSG at the Velodrome in Ligue 1 since November 1998, the end of a 21-match run.

    "After the sending off, a choice needed to be made, and at that point, we thought we had to bring on Kehrer and bring Neymar back as a third midfielder," Pochettino told reporters.

    He added: "I am very satisfied with Neymar's game, he has sacrificed a lot for the team after returning from the Brazilian national team and being inactive."

    Neymar played all 90 minutes in Brazil's CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Uruguay during the international break, producing a goal and two assists as Brazil won the latter fixture 4-1. 

    Though the Brazilian has not scored for his club since September 19, PSG have plenty of options.

    PSG are unbeaten in their last nine trips to Marseille in Ligue 1 (W6 D3), and remain on a run of three clean sheets at their rivals in the top flight – a first in their history.

    None of them came through on Sunday, but Pochettino sounded an upbeat note afterward. 

    "There are several positive things to take from the game," he said. "The team was solid, it showed character, it was well-organised with and without the ball.

    "It's a shame to have played with 10 men for nearly 40 minutes. But even in these conditions, we controlled the game.

    "We don't want to celebrate the point because there's a bitter feeling with this game. But there were some good things from an attacking point of view, we just lacked in finishing. I think we were a bit better than OM, not by much, but we deserved to win."

  • Pochettino hails 10-man PSG's 'character and personality' in Marseille draw Pochettino hails 10-man PSG's 'character and personality' in Marseille draw

    Mauricio Pochettino believes Paris Saint-Germain displayed "character and personality" in their 0-0 draw with Marseille on Sunday.

    PSG largely struggled to break down a stubborn Marseille defence despite starting with Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, before their hopes of claiming all three points were dented when Achraf Hakimi received a straight red card in the 57th minute for bringing down Cengiz Under.

    Marseille went close to finding a winner in the closing stages, while Messi was chased by a spectator late in the second half, with security slow to apprehend the man.

    The result stretched PSG's unbeaten run at Marseille in Ligue 1 to nine games, while they have now kept clean sheets at the Orange Velodrome in three straight matches for the first time in their history.

    Despite PSG's lacklustre showing in attack, Pochettino was pleased with his side's efforts in front of a hostile home crowd, who routinely threw objects at PSG players as they took corners.

    "I think overall our performance was good," he told RMC Sport. 

    "We played almost 40 minutes with 10 men because of Hakimi's red card. Yes, we wanted to win, it was our idea. But, in the end, we are quite happy with this performance.

    "I think we played well. Yes, it was a very good game, with different phases. I think we just missed scoring. We did a lot of positive things. I'm pretty happy because it was a very difficult game. 

    "The team showed character and personality. By playing with 10 for 40 minutes, I think we showed a lot of character. Of course, we showed identity and style in the game."

    The result means PSG are seven points clear at the Ligue 1 summit, while Marseille are 10 points behind in fourth, although Jorge Sampaoli's side have a game in hand.

    It was their first draw of the season and, while happy with the performance, Pochettino expects his side to return to winning ways soon.

    "Obviously, as coach of PSG, we always hope to win, but I can only congratulate the players for what they did today," he added.

    "We are in search of a balance. From experience, we know that these periods in October and November are always difficult.

    "But I am happy with the progress of the team, I am satisfied with where it is today in its course of evolution."

    PSG are next in action on Friday when they host reigning champions Lille at the Parc des Princes.

  • Busquets: Barcelona didn't deserve to lose El Clasico Busquets: Barcelona didn't deserve to lose El Clasico

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    David Alaba and Lucas Vazquez gave Madrid a 2-0 lead before Sergio Aguero grabbed a late consolation for Barca deep into added time.

    The defeat was Barca's fourth consecutive Clasico defeat across all competitions - their longest losing run in the fixture since seven losses in a row between April 1962 and February 1965.

    Busquets, 33, felt that the Blaugrana should not have ended up on the losing side, but were undone by conceding the first goal.

    "They got it right in the first part and we didn't," Busquets said to Barca TV post-match. "We knew they were going to let us have the ball but they had speed with Rodrigo and Vinicius.

    "In a team with these characteristics, when you lose the ball it is difficult to recover. And they have scored a goal in a kick, not in a play. That changes the game completely. I don't think we deserved to lose, but that's football.

    "When there are games of these characteristics, the one who scores first has the advantage. In the second half, we had possession and control, but we had not made clear chances."

    Busquets refused to blame the referee for the result and insisted that Barca remain positive despite being five points behind the top three.

    "Yes, I have seen [the controversial incidents], but it does not matter," Busquets continued. "The referee has been good in general lines and I am not going to respond to the controversies.

    "A small gap [in the table] is opening but I think we are growing little by little. Now we are going to recover Ousmane who will give us things in attack. We have to continue."

    Barca head coach Ronald Koeman - who has now lost five games against Real Madrid (three) and Atletico Madrid (two), as many as in the previous nine seasons in the competition - agreed with his veteran midfielder, insisting that his men played well but that going behind allowed their opponents to play on the break.

    "It is always difficult to understand a result like this because we made merits to have another result, especially in the first half," Koeman said. 

    "It depended on a very clear chance to have 1-0 and instead, they scored 0-1, then it was complicated because they defended the result and we knew that is very dangerous.

    "The crowd was phenomenal until the last second, we tried but we didn't get the result we wanted. We were good in the first half. We had a lot of ball possession."

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