Paris Saint-Germain Vs Pays de Cassel Football Score Match 24 January 2023
A magical last-16 tie in the 2022-23 Coupe de France takes place on Monday, as sixth-tier Pays de Cassel meet 14-time winners Paris Saint-Germain. The David vs. Goliath battle will be played at Lens’ Stade Bollaert-Delelis, as the Regional 1 minnows aim to pull off the giant killing of all giant killings.
The little club from the Northernmost region of the country – Hauts-de-France – will step foot onto Ligue 1 turf for the chance to claim a historic berth in the Coupe de France quarter-finals, but the current crop of Pays de Cassel players are already luminaries back home. Managed by coaching novice Samuel Goethals – who is only 34 years of age – Pays de Cassel have seen off Chaumontois, fifth-tier side Drancy JA and fourth-tier outfit Wasquehal in the Coupe de France so far, beating the latter two on penalties after 1-1 draws in the earlier rounds.
The ‘hosts’ compete in Pool C of the Regional 1 – which serves as the sixth tier of French football and the highest of the amateur divisions – but a spot in the Championnat National 3 is within reach for Goethals’s side after a promising start to the league season. Indeed, Pays de Cassel have taken 14 points from their opening seven matches to sit third in the table – behind AS Marck and USM Senlis, who are only one point ahead having played a game more – but even their sixth-tier adversaries will surely come out in vociferous support for a meeting with the best of the best.
Fans would bear witness to possibly the final glimpse of the Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo rivalry on Thursday, as a Riyadh All-Stars XI welcomed the French champions to Saudi Arabia for a tantalising friendly battle involving a combination of players from Al-Hilal and Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr. The two men – with 12 Ballon d’Ors between them – both scored on the day, and a full-strength PSG would run out 5-4 winners, with Marquinhos, Kylian Mbappe, Hugo Ekitike and Sergio Ramos also netting. It was far from the perfect trip, though, as Juan Bernat saw red and Neymar’s tame penalty was comfortably saved by Mohammed Al-Owais.
The King Fahd crowd certainly got what they wanted, with Christophe Galtier willingly sending out a strong squad in anticipation of Monday’s Coupe de France tie, as PSG aim to avoid going out in the fourth round for the first time since the 2013-14 season. Les Parisiens suffered penalty-shootout heartache to Nice in the last 16 of the 2021-22 tournament, but a rotated side comfortably saw off Chateauroux in the last 32, and they will welcome an extended break from Ligue 1 fortunes after losing two of their last three in the top flight to Lens and Rennes.
PSG’s first clash of the New Year saw them lose 3-1 to Lens at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis, where Pays de Cassel will somehow attempt to emulate Les Sang et Or’s feats in this once-in-a-lifetime occasion for the amateur history-makers. One should expect Pays de Cassel to line up in a defence-heavy formation to try to contain the Ligue 1 champions, with the experienced head of Romain Samson – older than his manager at 35 – acting as the last line of defence. Midfielder Nicolas Bruneel – formerly of Dunkerque – scored in Pays de Cassel’s previous wins over Chaumontois and Drancy but was nowhere to be seen in the most recent clash with Wasquehal after being caught up in the recent betting scandal.
Bruneel was given a two-game suspension along with a €1,000 (£878) fine and is due to serve the second of those bans here, leaving Kiba Sane to shoulder the goalscoring burden up front. As for PSG, Nordi Mukiele (hamstring) and Marco Verratti (quadriceps) were both absent from the trip to Riyadh – as was 19-year-old goalkeeper Lucas Lavallee – and the trio should make up the visitors’ only missing players for this contest.
Galtier is sure to send out an XI brimming with young talent and fringe players, including El Chadaille Bitshiabu and Ismael Gharbi, although Pablo Sarabia – who started against Chateauroux – has now left for Wolverhampton Wanderers. Sixteen-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery should also start – despite strong links with a move to Arsenal – but Pays de Cassel’s hopes of facing Messi, Neymar and Mbappe are unlikely to come to fruition.