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Football | France

PSG lead Cup quarterfinal hopefuls



Paris Saint Germain travel to Saint Etienne in the first of the French League Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday as Carlo Ancelotti attempts to keep the club's bid for an unprecedented four trophies intact.

The two teams met on November 3, in a Ligue One match at the Parc des Princes that went the way of Christophe Galtier's side 2-1 and ended the unbeaten league start to the season by the capital club.

Marseille who have won the three previous editions of the competition with wins over Bordeaux, Montpellier and Lyon are no longer in contention after losing 2-0 against PSG in the previous round.

Defending French champions Montpellier are coming off a 1-0 win over Bordeaux in domestic action as they await Nice while Corsican hopefuls Bastia host Lille and Rennes take on Troyes in the final last-eight match on Thursday.

PSG appear to be the favourites on paper with eight teams remaining but their reverse against the 'Green Devils' will be lingering in the memory as they seek revenge at what will be a fired up Geoffrey Guichard stadium.

Ancelotti must decide whether to start top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic from the outset or keep the Swedish superstar on the bench as he tinkers with the playing time of a striker who has already hit 12 league goals this season.

The 31-year-old icon struck twice in the 4-0 thrashing of Troyes at the weekend that kept PSG at the top of the table above Marseille on goal difference, but with a delicate trip to Nice on the weekend, the Italian Champions League winner as both a player and coach may opt to protect his prized asset.

Montpellier who lost the 2011 final to a late goal from former Marseille defender Taye Taiwo can move towards the final of a competition they have never won by taming a Nice outfit that sit 10th in the top flight after a 1-0 win away to Sochaux on Saturday.

While Montpellier have been eliminated from Champions League action after a miserable campaign on the continent, signs that the team are getting back to form were in evidence with a fine 1-0 win over fifth-placed Bordeaux at the weekend.

Bastia who lost the first ever League Cup final 2-0 against a PSG side featuring David Ginola, former coaches Paul Le Guen and Antoine Kombouare as well as George Weah and Rai at the Parc des Princes in 1995 must overcome a Lille side who have never reached the final.

Lille lost 1-0 at Marseille on the weekend and sit ninth in the table while the Corsican club are coming off a gutsy 2-1 win over Britanny side Lorient thanks to goals from Anthony Modeste and Wahbi Khazri.

Rennes came agonisingly close to a first major trophy since they became French champions in 1971 when they lost the French Cup final 2-1 against neighbors Guingamp in 2009 and are again within two matches of reaching Stade de France as second from bottom Troyes arrive in town.

Troyes have never won the French title and came closest to a major trophy in 1956 when they lost the French Cup final 3-1 against Sedan in a match played at the mythical Colombes stadium in the suburbs of Paris that hosted the 1924 "Chariots of Fire" Olympics.

Fixtures

Tuesday
Saint Etienne v Paris Saint Germain

Wednesday
Montpellier v Nice
Bastia v Lille

Thursday
Rennes v Troyes

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