No Messi, Mbappe or Neymar but PSG still win

Paris club ease past third-tier Chateauroux in the French Cup

Paris Saint-Germain's Carlos Soler celebrates scoring against Chateauroux with Sergio Ramos and teammates. Reuters
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Paris Saint-Germain rested their three biggest stars but still won 3-1 at third-tier Chateauroux in the French Cup round of 64 on Friday night.

With Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar not even on the visiting bench, PSG took the lead after 13 minutes with a right-foot shot from Hugo Ekitike.

The home team hit back with a 37th minute goal by Natanael Ntolla and created several chances before fading in the closing stages.

Carlos Soler put the visitors back in the lead in the 78th minute, knocking in the rebound after home goalkeeper Paul Delecroix had saved Ekitike's header.

Another Spaniard, Juan Bernat, scored the third goal in added time.

After the win, Manager Christophe Galtier hinted at some complacency within his team.

“Imagine if we hadn’t qualified. At one stage our team was split in half and that gave them confidence,” Galtier said. “Did we think things would be easy once we took the lead? Perhaps.”

Galtier picked three teenagers: 16-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery started in midfield alongside 18-year-old Ismael Gharbi, with 17-year-old El Chadaille Bitshiabu in central defence.

There was an upset elsewhere as second-tier Pau beat first-division Montpellier 2-1 at home.

Meanwhile, Angers beat Strasbourg on penalties in an all-first division game after a 0-0 draw.

Updated: January 07, 2023, 9:27 AM