Coupe de la Ligue: Nantes 1 Paris Saint-Germain 2
By Football News
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a dramatic late winner as Paris Saint-Germain overcame Nantes 2-1 to reach the final of the Coupe de la Ligue.
The Ligue 1 leaders controlled the game for large periods at the Stade de la Beaujoire, but needed a 90th-minute header from Ibrahimovic to seal their place in the final of the competition for a fifth time.
Sweden striker Ibrahimovic put PSG ahead in spectacular fashion inside five minutes with an excellent strike from distance following a mistake from Nantes goalkeeper Remy Riou.
However, the semi-final appeared set for extra-time after Olivier Veigneau levelled matters in the final 10 minutes with a close-range effort.
But Ibrahimovic and refused to be denied and secured the win late on as the former Barcelona and Milan man converted from a Lucas Moura delivery to seal a meeting with either Lyon or Troyes at the Stade de France.
PSG brought in Ezequiel Lavezzi in place of Edinson Cavani and the Argentina winger almost opened the scoring after four minutes when his low shot struck the post.
But moments later the visitors did take the lead as Ibrahimovic pounced on a mistake from Riou in remarkable fashion.
Riou's attempted clearance went straight to Ibrahimovic, who hit a magnificent first-time long-range volley over the head of the former Lyon man and into the net.
Blanc's men continued to dictate the play in a one-sided first half, captain Thiago Silva firing past the far post from a tight angle in PSG's search for a second goal.
Lavezzi was at the forefront of many PSG attacks and was denied again just before the half-hour mark, Riou saving from close range.
But, for all PSG's dominance, Nantes would have drawn level had Marco Verratti - back in the starting XI after missing last Friday's 2-0 win over Bordeaux through suspension - not been on the goal line to clear Papy Djilobodji's header.
Nantes appealed for handball against Verratti, but their claims were waved away by referee Laurent Duhamel.
Chances proved few and far between in a scrappy second half that was marked by an array of fouls as the contest became increasingly ill-tempered.
Serbian striker Filip Djordjevic curled over the crossbar from a free-kick after 68 minutes before PSG introduced midfielder Yohan Cabaye and winger Jeremy Menez in place of Verratti and Lavezzi.
Those changes failed to inspire PSG to net a second goal and they were made to pay for not killing the game off when Veigneau curled past Nicolas Douchez from Serge Gakpe's pull back.
There was to be one final twist in the tale, though, Ibrahimovic heading home from Lucas' right-wing cross to keep PSG's hopes of a fourth Coupe de la Ligue title intact.