Paris: Paris Saint-Germain brushed off the absence of Neymar to ease into the French League Cup quarter-finals with a 4-2 victory at Strasbourg on Wednesday.
The Ligue 1 leaders gained a measure of revenge for their shock 2-1 league defeat by Strasbourg less than a fortnight ago as they started their bid for a fifth straight League Cup title.
PSG will take on Amiens in the last eight, after the newly-promoted top-flight club edged out second-tier Tours 2-1.
“We needed to improve from the league game and the team was more focused from the start,” said PSG coach Unai Emery.
“Maybe we could have scored more goals and played better after it went to 4-2, but we are still happy.”
With Neymar having only just returned from a visit to his native Brazil, Emery opted to play Edinson Cavani up front on his own with Kylian Mbappe on the bench.
Home hopes of a repeat performance for Strasbourg were dashed in only the 12th minute, as Yoann Salmier sliced Angel Di Maria’s cross into his own net.
Argentina international Di Maria made it two midway through the first half, capitalising on a goalkeeping error by Alexandre Oukidja to slot in his fourth goal of the season.
But Strasbourg pulled one back before half-time against the run of play as midfielder Jeremy Grimm, who has been with the club throughout their rise from the third tier, slotted into the corner.
The hosts battled hard in the second period but their resistance was finally ended when Thomas Meunier crossed for fellow full-back Dani Alves to tap in from close range.
German international Julian Draxler impressed in a three-man attacking midfield alongside Di Maria and Javier Pastore, and drilled in to end a nine-game goal drought for club and country.
In Milan, new coach Gennaro Gattuso got back-to-back wins as AC Milan booked a quarter-final clash with city rivals Inter Milan in the Italian Cup after a comfortable 3-0 last 16 win over Verona.
Gattuso earned his first win as Milan boss in Serie A action against Bologna last time out and his side put in another solid display against league strugglers Verona.
Goals from Suso, Alessio Romagnoli and Patrick Cutrone set up a December 27 date with Serie A leaders Inter, who needed a 5-4 win on penalties to squeeze past Serie C side Pordenone after their tie on Tuesday ended 0-0 after extra time.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was jeered by the Milan crowd before the game with insulting banners brandished amid claims he wants the contract extension he signed last summer cancelled on the grounds he was pressured into it, amidst rumours his agent is lining up a big-money move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Giacomo Bonaventura continued his fine form after his double against Bologna, playing a role in Suso’s 22nd-minute opener, and setting up Romagnoli’s second on the half-hour, with Cutrone heading in after 56 minutes before Bonaventura was substituted to the applause of the Milan crowd.
“What has changed with Gattuso? He gives us grit and heart, Next up the derby,” said Cutrone after Milan’s first win in their last eight Italian Cup meetings with Verona.
Last 16: Fiorentina 3 Sampdoria 2
AC Milan 3 Verona 0
Hoffenheim 1 VfB Stuttgart 0
Bayern Munich 1 Cologne 0
Hertha Berlin 3 Hanover 96 1
Schalke 3 Augsburg 2
Bayer Leverkusen 1 Werder Bremen 0