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Di Maria shines

Friday, March 02, 2018

PARIS - Argentine winger Angel Di Maria produced a majestic performance capped by two fine goals to help French Cup holders Paris St Germain reach the semi-finals with a 3-0 win over Olympique Marseille yesterday.

It was a carbon copy of PSG's 3-0 league victory over Marseille on Sunday in which their Brazil forward Neymar suffered a broken foot that requires surgery and is likely to keep him out for six to eight weeks.

PSG's win came amid two quarter-final shocks as third division Les Herbiers and Chambly, both in the relegation zone, upset more heralded rivals to reach the last four.

Les Herbiers beat second division Lens 4-2 on penalties following a goalless stalemate after extra time on Tuesday and Chambly stunned top-tier Strasbourg 1-0 thanks to a late Lassana Doucoure goal on Wednesday.

Di Maria, whose playing time this season has been limited by Neymar's performances, scored both goals with his weaker right foot and was a constant menace to Marseille, whose goalkeeper Steve Mandanda spared the visitors from a heavier defeat. Di Maria opened the scoring on the stroke of halftime when he drilled in a stinging low shot from 20 metres which took a slight deflection off Marseille defender Adil Rami, prompting Mandanda to kick his post in frustration.

Di Maria added the second in the 48th minute with a composed finish after left back Yuri Berchiche's teasing cross sailed past two defenders.

Mandanda, who had saved a Di Maria piledriver in the first half, somehow kept out Edinson Cavani's header and Julian Draxler shot inches wide with a spectacular overhead kick before Cavani sealed the rout in the 82nd minute.

A dazzling move through the middle left Cavani with time to crash a thumping low shot past Mandanda as the home fans celebrated at the Parc des Princes.

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