Two years ago Paris Saint-Germain laid siege to the Troyes goal and won 9-0 to seal the Ligue 1 Conforama title. This time around Neymar-less PSG face the promoted club, a final match before the crunch Real Madrid game.
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On March 13 2016 PSG recorded the biggest ever away win in league history as they crushed Troyes at Stade de l’Aube to put the seal on their fourth straight league crown with fully eight rounds of games remaining, the earliest any champion has wrapped things up. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored four that day and Edinson Cavani added a double.
This Saturday afternoon Troyes will hope that PSG are distracted by the proximity with the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 tie against holders Real three days later. Neymar’s operation is a massive blow for the capital club, while Kylian Mbappé went off at half-time of the Coupe de France quarter-final victory over Olympique de Marseille on Wednesday evening with an ankle complaint. Emery is optimistic that both centre-half Marquinhos (thigh) and goalkeeper Alphonse Areola (calf) will be fit for the Real encounter.
Emery: “We will miss Neymar”
Neymar suffered an ankle problem and a metatarsal fissure in the league game against OM last Sunday and the Brazilian international will be missed. Coach Unai Emery said: “To start with it appeared as though it was an ankle sprain and then further examination revealed the fissure and that changed the nature of the injury. The Brazil team doctor came to see us and we decided the operation was the best option. (Gonçalo) Guedes played on with a fissure before going under the knife, but the operation is necessary. We will miss Neymar but the team will prepare to succeed without him.”
Angel Di Maria deputised for Neymar on the left of the three-man attack on Wednesday evening and starred, scoring twice to make it 10 goals in his last 10 starts in all competitions for the Argentinian international. Emery commented: “It’s good for the confidence of players to do well in such high-profile matches. Di Maria can play on the left and the right.”
Khaoui: “A huge game for us”
One player with added motivation on Saturday will be Troyes’ Saïf-Eddine Khaoui, on loan from OM. Khaoui said: “It will be a packed house won’t it? It’s going to be an interesting match for the Parisians as it is in between their Coupe de France Classique against OM and the home game against Real Madrid in the Champions League. Saturday will be a huge game for us.”
Back in Week 15 in November Troyes gave a good account of themselves before falling 2-0 at the Parc des Princes to late goals from Neymar and Cavani. It was 0-0 when Khaoui was substituted just past the hour and he said: “Without Neymar the danger will be different this time but it will still be there. All the Paris players are dangerous, the usual starters and their replacements. They’re a really, really good team but it’s still better that Neymar’s not there. We’ll need to be at 100% and hope that they’re not. We’ll need to play with maximum concentration.”
Troyes top scorer Adama Niane was reintegrated to the first-team squad on Thursday after a week of training with the reserves following a training ground altercation with coach Jean-Louis Garcia.
Troyes: Zelazny; Cordoval, Giraudon, Hérelle, Obiang; Bellugou; Grandsir, Azamoum (c), Walter, Pelé; Suk
Paris Saint-Germain: Aréola; Alves, Silva (c), Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Lo Celso, Diarra, Rabiot; Di María, Draxler, Nkunku