Paris Saint-Germain are into the hat for the Coupe de France round of 32 after squeezing past CFA A outfit ES Wasquehal 1-0 at Stadium Lille Metropole on Sunday.
Laurent Blanc named a far-from-full-strength squad for the trip to northern France, so the starting XI in Villeneuve d’Ascq was largely composed of youngsters and fringe players.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, captain for the day and one of a handful of regular starters in the side, scored the only goal of the game after an hour.
Speaking with the capital club’s official website after the match, Le President was simply relieved to have made it through to the next round.
It's never easy getting back into competition after a break and there was also some tricky conditions with the weather. We would have preferred to have scored earlier and killed the game off, but we weren't able to do that today. We got through a lot of work last week and so we had a few heavy legs. The main thing was to qualify and we did that tonight.
After his goal in the 1-0 friendly victory over Inter Milan in Doha, Qatar, last Wednesday, young attacker Jean-Kevin Augustin was expected to make the most of a rare start against Wasquehal.
With eight first-team regulars missing for the game on the outskirts of Lille, the 18-year-old had the opportunity to prove that he merits a greater number of opportunities over the second half of the season from the bench or in the starting XI against some of PSG’s weaker opponents.
Augustin failed to take the chance presented to him by Blanc and did more harm than good in a poor performance against Wasquehal.
The teenage scoring sensation missed two very good first-half chances. The first was an opening from right in front of goal, which he somehow failed to connect with, while the second was a volley that he skied from Adrien Rabiot’s inch-perfect lofted pass to the back post.
Augustin missing his second chance was understandable. Although he has the technique to finish that sort of opportunity, a volley in the cold and wet conditions in Lille was not the easiest finish to execute and the PSG No. 29 no doubt had his earlier miss playing on his mind.
That first spurned chance, the miss from almost underneath the Wasquehal crossbar, was Augustin’s most costly error. There is no excuse for the young Frenchman failing to connect with the ball in from the left and had he made contact with the ball, it would have been a certain goal.
Augustin can have no complaints if Blanc does not hand him another chance to impress until perhaps the next Coupe de France game (the round-of-32 draw takes place on Monday evening) after his disappointing outing against Wasquehal.
The teenager must now remain patient until his coach sees fit to either throw him on from the bench or to start him in a game against lower-quality opposition, either in Ligue 1 or the Coupe de France.
Augustin tried hard to make up for his wasteful first half in the second 45 minutes, but he would have done more to aid his cause by passing to an unmarked Ibrahimovic in the dying minutes of the game instead of going for goal and bringing a save out of Wasquehal goalkeeper and captain Romain Samson.
Wasquehal will not be Augustin’s final chance to impress and Blanc will surely give him another opportunity to prove his worth. However, few future opportunities will be as golden as the one that has just passed the PSG youngster by.