Mbappe hits hat-trick as PSG advance to French Cup last 16 but crowd trouble persists

Drone disrupts match at Stade de la Rabine while smoke and fireworks cause 20-minute delay in game between Jura Sud and Saint-Etienne

Kylian Mbappe scores his first goal and PSG's second in the 4-0 French Cup win over Vannes at Stade de la Rabine on Monday. Reuters
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Paris Saint-Germain shrugged off the absence of Lionel Messi to thrash fourth-division Vannes 4-0 to ease into the French Cup last 16 on Monday, with Kylian Mbappe scoring a hat-trick.

Despite the absence of five PSG players including superstar Messi and Danilo after positive tests for Covid-19, Mauricio Pochettino's side were never worried by the Brittany minnows.

Defender Presnel Kimpembe, wearing the captain's armband, headed in after 28 minutes just after the match had been interrupted for a minute after a drone flew over the Rabine Stadium in western France.

Kimpembe then set up Mbappe for the second just before the hour mark with the French forward completing a hat-trick in an 18-minute spell.

Mbappe added a second after 71 minutes after good work from Marco Verratti and Xavi Simons adding a third six minutes later for his 150th goal in a PSG jersey.

"I'm happy to get started again," said World Cup winner Mbappe. "It was not an easy match for us to play, but we were there."

Pochettino added: "We can be happy with our team performance, very solid. His (Mbappe) goals were the icing on the cake. He is a top player in the world.

"We made a few adjustments at half-time, including the positioning of the midfielders. It allowed us to be more fluid in the flow of the ball, and to find depth."

Vannes' Cup dream was over with the Brittany side also missing out on their hoped for bonanza after the French government's crowd restrictions with 5,000 spectators only permitted at outdoor events.

Vannes had been hoping for a 9,600 sell-out and according to their president Maxime Ray are set to miss out on revenue of €250,000 ($282,000).

"We are missing out on what is a fortune to us," he said.

Covid could also overshadow Tuesday's Cup clash between Lens and Lille with seven players from the visiting team confirmed positive.

"We had four Covid cases which has now become seven," said Lille coach Jocelyn Gourvennec, without naming the players. "We're going to re-test all the players tomorrow (Tuesday) morning."

People in the crowd light flares during the French Cup match between Jura Sud and Saint-Etienne. The match was interrupted shortly after for around 20 minutes. AFP

Monday's drone incident was another in a series of problems French football have had since the start of the 2021/22 season.

Sunday's Cup match between fourth-division Jura Sud and Saint-Etienne, in Louhans, was interrupted for about 20 minutes due to smoke and fireworks launched by supporters of the Greens.

Jura Sud goalkeeper Cedric Mensah described his shock on Monday after crowd trouble "cut the legs" of his team in a 4-1 French Cup defeat to Ligue 1 outfit Saint-Etienne.

"I heard a powerful bang and felt a pain in my right ear. I had the impression that a bomb had exploded and felt the pitch vibrate," he said.

"The doctor explained to me that if it had exploded closer, I could have pierced my eardrum. At the time, it really shook me."

Updated: January 04, 2022, 4:48 AM