Paris Saint-Germain remains on course for a fifth straight League Cup title after winning 3-2 away to Rennes on Tuesday, in a hectic semifinal where three decisions went to the Video Assistant referee and Neymar riled his opponents.
PSG took its tally to 13 goals in three matches at Rennes this season — the others were in the French League and in the French Cup — but failed to properly protect its 3-0 advantage after forward Kylian Mbappe was sent off in the 63rd minute.
Both sides had a goal ruled out after VAR referral, while Mbappe was sent off when the VAR showed him blatantly raking his studs on forward Ismaila Sarr’s lower leg, ripping his sock around the heel.
PSG seemed in complete control approaching the hour mark, after goals from right back Thomas Meunier, centre back Marquinhos and midfielder Giovani Lo Celso.
Striker Diafra Sakho pulled a goal back in the 85th with a diving header on his debut after joining from West Ham in the Premier League, and midfielder Sanjin Prcic’s 25-meter strike in the second minute of injury time ensured a few PSG jitters.
In a heated finale, Rennes players were furious with Neymar on two occasions.
The first saw the Brazil star control a high ball on his back and then flick it nonchalantly over the head of winger Benjamin Bourigeaud, who angrily tried to grab Neymar in frustration.
The improvised move was a demonstration of Neymar’s astonishing skill, but the next incident could be seen as provocative arrogance by the Brazil star.
With Rennes defender Hamari Traore on the floor in the fourth minute of injury-time, Neymar held out his hand as if to help him up. When Traore reached out his hand in appreciation, Neymar withdrew his quickly, smiled and jogged away. Sakho and midfielder Benjamin Andre were incensed as they circled around Neymar.
After Meunier gave PSG the lead in the 24th minute with a fine dipping volley from just outside the penalty area, forward Wahbi Khazri thought he had equalized in the 43rd. He broke into the penalty area and slipped the ball into the bottom left corner. Referee Mikael Lesage awarded it, but then referred the decision to the VAR.
After nearly two minutes, Lesage disallowed the goal after images clearly showed Khazri had inadvertently knocked the ball into this path with his right arm before shooting.
The VAR ruled out another goal, this time for PSG, after Mbappe’s 49th-minute goal was marginally offside.
Marquinhos’ tap-in after Angel Di Maria’s shot was saved made it 2-0 in the 54th and Lo Celso’s shot went in off goalkeeper Abdoulaye Diallo in the 58th, with Di Maria again involved.
When Andre had a goal ruled out for offside with six minutes left, Lesage did not ask for a review but instead trusted his linesman’s decision.
PSG is on course to once again meet Monaco in the final, which will be held on March 31.
In the other semifinal, Monaco is at home to Montpellier on Wednesday.