Pochettino concedes 'we could have made it easer for ourselves' after PSG squeeze into French Cup final on penalties

Kylian Mbappe scores twice as semi-final against Montpellier finishes 2-2 in regular time

Paris Saint-Germain twice blew a lead against Montpellier but held their nerve in a nailbiting shootout to reach the French Cup final.

The title-holders prevailed 6-5 on penalties after the game had finished 2-2 in regular time.

The outcome was a relief for manager Mauricio Pochettino after PSG were knocked out of the Champions League semi-finals by Manchester City and trail Ligue 1 leaders Lille by three points with two games left.

"There is a magic in cup matches and they are never easy but we could have made it easer for ourselves because we missed a lot of chances," Pochettino said. "We lack consistency and we have to work harder to find it."

PSG's best chance of winning a trophy this season will be the May 19 cup final at Stade de France against either Monaco or fourth-tier Rumilly Vallieres, who meet in the other semi-final on Thursday.

Junior Sambia blazed Montpellier's final penalty over the bar before Moise Kean drilled in his spot-kick to send PSG through, with the visitors almost paying the price for missing a string of chances in regular time.

Fit-again Kylian Mbappe fired PSG ahead in the 10th minute and restored their lead in the 50th after Gaetan Laborde levelled on the stroke of half time.

PSG's profligacy was punished when Andy Delort tapped in Laborde's perfect cutback in the 83rd minute.

The visitors flirted with an exit as Montpellier kept gaining the upper hand in the shootout until Sambia lost his nerve and substitute Kean sealed a pulsating clash when he blasted his shot past Bertaud.

Mbappe, who took no part in the penalty shootout as he was substituted moments before Delort's equaliser, was glad PSG survived some anxious moments.

"It was really stressful to watch the shootout from the sidelines and we are delighted to be in a position to defend the trophy," he told French Eurosport.

"We played better than we did in the last few matches but we must stop letting our rivals back into games."

Published: May 13, 2021 10:38 AM

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