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PSG down Montpellier from the spot to stamp Cup final ticket

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Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe (unseen) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the French Cup semi-final football match between Montpellier (MHSC) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Mosson stadium in Montpellier, southern France, on May 12, 2021. (Photo by Pascal GUYOT / AFP)

Paris Saint-Germain squeaked past Montpellier 6-5 on penalties in Wednesday’s French Cup semi-final to keep alive their hopes of ending the season with silverware.

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Spot kicks were required after the two sides were all square at 2-2 after normal time in Montpellier.

The holders will learn on Thursday the identity of their opponents at the Stade de France next week, with fourth-tier Rumilly-Vallieres facing Monaco in the second last-four tie.

“It was a real cup tie, they’re never easy,” said PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino.

PSG was quick off the mark, Kylian Mbappe giving them a 10th-minute lead.

Montpellier were back on level terms with a superb shot from Gaetan Laborde at the end of the first half.

Mbappe had PSG back in front shortly after the restart.

But just as it looked as though PSG were home and hosed Algeria forward Andy Delort nabbed the equaliser with seven minutes left on the clock to set up the penalty conclusion.

At 5-5 Junior Sambia sent his spot-kick high leaving Moise Kean to send PSG to the final.

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The French Cup has taken on added importance to Pochettino’s team as it could now be their best remaining chance to end the season with a trophy.

Their Ligue 1 domination is under severe threat as they lag three points behind leaders Lille with two games left, following their elimination from the Champions League in the semi-finals.

Pochettino said he hadn’t been worried about the end result, but “more concerned – so many chances, it was frustrating, we’d done everything to get to the final”.

Neymar was left on the bench, the Brazil striker coming on late and converting his spotkick and picking up a yellow card.

“He had a touch of fever. If we’d had a decent lead I wouldn’t have played him, but at 2-2 with five minutes to go with penalties a possibility, I brought him on.”

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