A laboured victory for PSG in the Coupe de France at third-tier Chateauroux showed how much they miss their famous front three.
Paris Saint-Germain left out their biggest stars and survived a scare to progress in the Coupe de France, earning a 3-1 win at Chateauroux on Friday.
An early goal from Hugo Ekitike before half-time was canceled out by Natanael Ntolla and PSG had to wait until the 78th minute for Carlos Soler to wrap up the home side in Ligue 1 before Juan Bernat added some gloss to the scoreline late on.
Christophe Galtier included 16-year-old Warren Zaire Emery in his much-altered starting line-up, with Lionel Messi, Neymar or Kylian Mbappe not selected in attack as were Ekitike, Pablo Sarabia and Soler.
Chateauroux, who play in the third tier of French football, belied their lowly 14th place finish in the Championnat National with a determined performance against their famous rivals, but PSG eventually made it to the last 32 stage.
The visitors took the lead in the 13th minute when Ismael Gharbi’s first time ball from the edge of the box into the path of Ekitike allowed the young striker to finish neatly off the left post with the outside of his right foot.
Jonathan Mexique hit home in the 26th minute with a close-range shot that was deflected by the onrushing Vitinha, while Paul Delecroix struck well from Gharbi’s volley to his left shortly afterwards.
The scores were level eight minutes before the break, although neat work down the left left former Lille and Saint-Etienne striker Nolan Roux to pull the ball back for Ntolla, whose shot on goal the 17-year-old curled past Keylor Navas. PSG defender El Chadaille Bitshiabu.
Galtier called for more experience in the second half when Sergio Ramos and Fabian Ruiz came on just after the hour mark, and the coach eventually saw his side take the lead again when Vitinha planted a cross at the far post, allowing Ekitike to head home. After Delecroix’s initial intervention, Soler followed up.
Bernat made it 3-1 at the break after pouncing on a ball from Ruiz and firing low and hard past Delecroix to seal victory for PSG.