Paris Saint-Germain made history on Saturday, becoming the first team to win the French Coupe de la Ligue in four straight years with a 4-1 win over AS Monaco.
Julian Draxler gave PSG an early lead in controversial fashion, but Thomas Lemar tied things up after 27 minutes. Angel Di Maria restored the advantage shortly before half-time, and Edinson Cavani doubled the lead early in the second half. The Uruguayan scored once more just before the final whistle.
PSG have now won the Coupe de la Ligue a record seven times, while Monaco are still waiting for their second triumph.
As shared by ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson, Thomas Meunier wasn't fit enough to start for PSG:
Monaco also missed a key man, with Radamel Falcao failing a fitness test ahead of the match:
PSG took control of the ball early, with Thiago Silva keeping a close eye on starlet Kylian Mbappe and bossing the youngster around.
It took the defending champions just four minutes to take the lead. Marco Verratti played in Di Maria with a great pass, and the Argentinian laid the ball off to Draxler, who easily tapped home into the open net.
Per sportswriter Nathan Staples, the Germany international was clearly offside:
Football writer Mohammed Ali thought video technology would have been a welcome sight on Saturday:
The pace was fast and furious in the opening stages, as Monaco tried to hit back immediately. Bernardo Silva and Mbappe were both heavily involved, but the latter couldn't get away from Silva, and the former was kept in check by double coverage.
Danijel Subasic took a huge risk coming off his line, clearing the ball just ahead of Cavani, and Mbappe couldn't believe it when Silva was given the foul after the Brazilian seemed to handle the ball. Neither could Ali:
The Monegasques improved as the half wore on, however, and chances started to fall their way. Jemerson came within inches of turning the ball home after a corner from Joao Moutinho, and Verratti got away with a clear foul on Silva that would have given Monaco a free-kick from an excellent position.
Just before the half-hour mark, Lemar tied things up. Silva beautifully played in Djibril Sidibe, and Lemar took a pass from the latter and blasted a great strike into the top corner. Johnson loved the buildup to the goal:
Monaco took control after the equaliser, but their dominance didn't last long, as a series of rash tackles and incidents sucked the momentum out of the match. The official had his hands full trying to calm the match down, especially after Thiago Motta won a free-kick by seemingly diving and Benjamin Mendy wasn't punished for an obvious trip minutes later.
In between the many clashes, Subasic produced a world-class save to deny Cavani a sure goal, giving Betclic.fr the chance to pull out this classic:
Trapp made a great save of his own to deny Valere Germain, and the spectacular half finished in style, with Di Maria restoring the lead after some great work from Draxler.
At half-time, sportswriter Julien Laurens said what everyone watching was thinking:
The intensity carried over for the start of the second half, and Moutinho fired the first chance of the period over the bar. Monaco had the better of play, but once again, the goal fell on the other side of the pitch.
It was the inevitable Cavani who converted after yet another brilliant pass from Verratti, and this time, Subasic had no answer for his volley.
Johnson loved it:
Somehow, no player was booked until the 56th minute, when Layvin Kurzawa made a horrendous challenge on Silva.
Cavani should have doubled his tally and ended the match as a contest just a few minutes later, but somehow, the Uruguay international missed the target from a few yards out, with no one there to stop him. Per B/R's Sam Tighe, it's all in a day's work for the former Napoli man:
Tiemoue Bakayoko should have done better from 20 yards out, but at this stage of the match, Monaco had all but given up on winning the final. PSG were already counting down the seconds, and goalkeeper Trapp was booked for time wasting.
Bakayoko had the ball in the net shortly after, but he didn't even celebrate, as the whistle had already gone for a foul.
Mendy fired a shot wide before Mbappe was called back for offside after yet another promising passing move, and the sequence summed up the team's efforts in the second half.
Irvin Cardona nearly made an immediate impact as a sub, heading the ball off the post, and Di Maria put Subasic to work with a curling effort with the outside of his boot.
Motta wasted some more time by requiring treatment for what looked like a minor knock at best, and Silva refused to leave the pitch for a substitution even after the board with his number had already been raised.
There were more oddities in store, with Cavani kicking Bakayoko in the leg and tumbling to the ground himself, only to win the foul. It hardly mattered, as PSG cruised to the finish line and even added another goal through Cavani.
As shared by Robin Bairner of Goal, Kurzawa told Canal+ he hopes Saturday's win will have an effect on the Ligue 1 title race:
PSG's next outing will be in the Coupe de France against Avranches, while Monaco face Lille.