PLAYER RATINGS | PSG 3-1 Nice: Kylian Mbappé scores in Coupe de France quarter-final win

Much like the fixture’s namesake cycling classic, recent Paris-Nice encounters have played out at near-breakneck speeds. Les Aiglons had been the only team to defeat PSG at home this season across any competition, in a Terem Moffi-inspired 3-2 win back in September that was emblematic of what had been a full-throttle start to the Francesco Farioli era.

While PSG are once again clear of the Europe-chasing peloton in Ligue 1, they have struggled to carry over that dominance into domestic cup action in recent seasons. Consecutive round of 16 exits – including one at the Parc des Princes to tonight’s opponents, in 2022 – had been characteristic of the Parisians’ late-season breakdowns.

Tonight, PSG made sure to impose themselves early on. Predictably dominant in possession, the hosts opened the scoring within the first quarter of an hour, as Kylian Mbappé beat Marcin Bułka with a sliding finish after a one-two with Fabián Ruiz. Having only played 20 minutes in the weekend’s draw against Reims, the France captain looked particularly sharp in the opening exchanges, hitting the woodwork minutes after opening the score.

Ousmane Dembélé would be the catalyst for PSG’s second. Taking advantage of a heavy touch from Bułka, the Frenchman was able to reclaim the ball and square it to Fabián Ruiz for a straightforward finish to double the lead. While PSG’s lead was halved before the break – Gaëtan Laborde pulling one back after a driving run into the box from Boga – Luis Enrique’s men looked assured.

Having survived a few incisive moves from Les Aiglons early in the second half, the hosts eventually managed to double their lead through Lucas Beraldo’s first goal for the club. With Vitinha’s cross nodded on by his compatriot Dante, the Brazilian was able to beat Bułka with a close-range header.

While Farioli’s men had a few chances in the final half-hour – notably a stoppage-time Alexis Claude-Maurice effort – there had been a noticeable drop in the intensity of their attacks after the break. PSG – who, if anything, looked closer to scoring a fourth – were able to see out the match untroubled.

It might appear as an afterthought in comparison to their continental ambitions, but for PSG to still be in contention for a 15th Coupe de France title is illustrative of the fact that they have avoided the pitfalls of previous seasons. A semi-final against recent winners Rennes, who clinched a draw at the Parc des Princes just weeks ago, will be another stern test of that. As for Nice, their last win across all competitions came five weeks ago, when they saw off Montpellier in the previous round. While some of tonight’s individual performances will be cause for optimism, the early-season impenetrability that positioned them as PSG’s main challengers seems increasingly distant. 

PSG player ratings

Gianluigi Donnarumma, 6

Warren Zaïre-Emery, 4 – The teenager was admittedly not playing in his favoured position, but struggled to deal with Boga throughout the match. One such instance led to the Ivorian’s drive into the box which preceded Laborde’s goal.

Lucas Beraldo, 6

Lucas Hernández, 4

Nuno Mendes, 5

Fabián Ruiz, 6

Vitinha, 6

Kang-in Lee, 4

Ousmane Dembélé, 7 – As has often been the case this season, the former Rennes man wasn’t directly decisive in front of goal but was the main creative force for the hosts. Operating from the same central position he was deployed in against Real Sociedad, Dembélé was an effective link in moves down both wings, all the while driving attacks forward with his incisive, weaving runs. Appeared to lose focus in the last half hour, though.

Gonçalo Ramos, 4

Kylian Mbappé, 5 – The captain started impressively, breaking the deadlock and hitting the post minutes later, but was kept quiet by an excellent Jean-Clair Todibo for the rest of the match. 

Nice player ratings

Marcin Bułka, 4  

Jordan Lotomba, 4

Jean-Clair Todibo, 7 – The centre-back won virtually all of his one-on-one duels against Mbappé, and could do little about the two goals that his team did concede.

Dante, 4

Melvin Bard, 5

Khéphren Thuram, 4

Morgan Sanson, 4

Pablo Rosario, 4

Jérémie Boga, 7 – Constantly drifted past Zaïre-Emery – especially in the first half – in what was arguably the 18-year-old’s toughest test in the handful games he has played at right-back. The Ivorian often caught out the more experienced Lucas Hernandez as well, his impressive run leading to Nice’s goal seeing him take out both defenders.

Evann Guessand, 4

Gaëtan Laborde, 5

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