By Eskender Tamrat
When: 3:00PM EST, Saturday, April 1st, 2017
Where: Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Décines-Charpieu, France
Betting Line: OFF
TV Coverage: TV5Monde, beIN Sports
Ligue 1 front-runners AS Monaco (22-5-3) and Paris-Saint Germain F.C. (21-5-4) will take their rivalry to the cup final this Saturday. French's equivalent of League Cup (second cup competition), Coupe de la Ligue, will come to an end, as both teams set their sights on the first trophy of the season.
Monaco came out on top in the sides' head-to-head fixtures in the league this season, recording an excellent 3-1 win at Stade Lewis II and salvaging a late draw at PSG. They hope to win the league title for the first time since the turn of the millennium, as they maintained a three-point lead over the four-time defending champions PSG.
The man who scored the winning goal in the semifinal against AS Nancy for Monaco, Radamel Falcao, could miss the final because of a hamstring injury. Meanwhile Djibril Sidibé ruled out of the tie following a serious injury against Luxembourg in the World Cup qualifiers.
As for PSG, Thiago Motta and Thomas Meunier could miss Saturday's final due to injuries, while the Poland international Grzegorz Krychowiak is certainly out of the game due to a fractured rib sustained in a national team duty against Montenegro in the World Cup qualifiers.
Monaco's Coupe de la Ligue run started in the round of 16, as it's the custom for clubs who participate in Europe. Before repeating the feat against FC Metz in Ligue 1 in February, Kylian Mbappé scored his first ever hat-trick in the 7-0 defeat of Stade Rennes. The next two matches were close shaves, however, as they get past FC Sochaux-Montbéliard in a penalty shootout before Falcao sent them through to the final, taking full advantage of a goalkeeper blunder in the stroke of halftime against Nancy.
Paris-Saint Germain F.C.
PSG reached the last four in the wake of two comfortable wins at home against Lille OSC and FC Metz. Two goals each from Ángel Di Maria and Edinson Cavani helped them to an excellent 4-1 win at FC Girondins de Bordeaux in the semifinals. They are the three-time reigning champions of the competition, and held the record overall with six trophies in total.
1. PSG progressed in the previous two fixtures between the sides in this competition. They knocked out Monaco in a penalty shootout in the last 16 of the 1998-99 season. In their recent Coupe de la Ligue meeting, Fabrice Pancrate's goal send PSG to the fourth round in 2008-09. However, PSG failed to win the cup in both occasions.
2. Monaco scored 129 goals so far this season in all competition.
3. The sides could also meet in the final of Coupe de France (French's FA Cup, if you will) as they both progressed to the quarterfinals.
The outcome of this match could have a say in the title race and you would expect a tight game in the final. The winner of this game would fancy their chances of a domestic triple. I'd bank PSG to prevail in a very scrappy affair that will be decided in extra-time, as they are the ones expected to draw blood to make up for the lost ground.
PSG 2, Monaco 1 (AET)