With star striker Neymar out injured, Angel Di Maria staked his claim to start against Real Madrid next week by scoring two goals as Paris Saint-Germain beat a sloppy Marseille side 3-0 Wednesday to reach the French Cup semifinals.
Di Maria put French Cup holder PSG ahead on the stroke of halftime, whipping in a fierce shot from the edge of the penalty area after Marseille failed to clear the ball properly and it was played back into his path.
Marseille’s poor defending led to the Argentina winger’s second goal, three minutes after the break. Center half Aymen Abdennour failed to clear an easy ball _ swiping wildly as it went under his foot _ and Di Maria fired in his 12th goal since January.
PSG’s top scorer Edinson Cavani guided in the third after Julian Draxler astutely headed the ball into his path with 10 minutes left.
League leader PSG beat Marseille by the same score on Sunday, and just as easily. But that win was overshadowed by an injury to star striker Neymar _ who cost a world record 222 million euros ($260 million) from Barcelona. He fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot and sprained his ankle late on.
Neymar is set to undergo surgery in Brazil which rules him out of Tuesday’s Champions League return leg against Real Madrid, with PSG trailing 3-1.
“After an initial treatment period of three days in line with a strict medical protocol, a joint decision has been taken between the medical staffs of both Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team,” PSG said in a statement.
In Wednesday’s other quarterfinal, third-division Chambly caused an upset with a 1-0 home win against first-division Strasbourg, with midfielder Lassana Doucoure finishing from close range in the 83rd.
On Tuesday, Les Herbiers _ which also plays in the third division _ knocked out second-division Lens in a penalty shootout. The last remaining place in the last four will be decided on Thursday, when Caen takes on Lyon.