PSG visited Chateauroux on Friday, Jan. 6 for their Round of 64 matchup in the French Cup and sweated a late 1-3 victory away from home in which Paris Saint-Germain couldn't count on many (if any) of their top-tier players because of different reasons.
Summer signee (on loan for now and until next July) Hugo Ekitike opened the score just 13 minutes into the game but that was more a mirage than anything else as La Berri tied it all at 1-1 with 37 minutes on the clock thanks to a goal by Natanael Ntolla. It took PSG 78 minutes to put themselves ahead with a goal by Carlos Soler, as Juan Bernat doubled the distance with the final goal arriving already one minute into added time.
The fans attending Friday's game at Stade Gaston-Petit were reasonably mad at PSG for leaving the entire trio of Neymar, Lionel Messi, and Kylian Mbappe off a game for the first time this season. It happens when you boast multiple world-beating talents, folks. Deal with it.
Who was not mad, though, was the whole Chateauroux organization. They fought proudly and willingly for 77 minutes until Soler finally scored the game-deciding goal almost inside the final 10 minutes of play.
PSG started the match with three titis on the starting XI including El Chadaille Bitshiabu, Warren Zaire-Emery, and Ismael Gharbi, one in each of the three pitch lines from defense to midfield to offense.
PSG defeated Chateauroux 1-3 away from home and advanced to the French Cup Round of 32 on Friday
Nobody doubted PSG's superior talent, whether World Cup players were present on the pitch or not. At the end of the day, the closest thing La Berri have to a top-tier club is being owned by a Saudi Arabia-backed board in a similar fashion as the new Premier League behemoths of Newcastle.
PSG didn't have any of Donnarumma, Hakimi, Kimpembe, Messi, Mendes, Mbappe, Neymar, Renato Sanches, and Verratti. Youngsters Gharbi, Zaire-Emery, and Bitshiabu were on the pitch from the get-go with recently-turned-pros Ilyes Housni and Ayman Kari on the bench. Even then, Paris Saint-Germain controlled the game from start to finish only failing at capitalizing on their chances through it and allowing La Berri some openings that could have made things ugly.
Carlos Soler, starting on Friday as well as Pablo Sarabia, was the deciding factor for the Parisian victory in an underperforming night away from the Parc. Considering the distance between the two clubs involved in the match, PSG should have put the game to bed no later than the halftime break. It couldn't be, no wonder with the likes of Sarabia and Marquinhos roaming the pitch.
With the win, PSG advances to the Round of 32 and keeps adding games to an already-overloaded schedule. The next French Cup match won't happen until Jan. 23 with two Ligue 1 games before that one taking place on Jan. 11 (vs. Angers) and Jan. 15 (at Rennes), and a must-play friendly against a Saudi Arabia-based All-Star team on Jan. 19.