PARIS — Two goals and two assists from 16-year-old forward Rayan Cherki helped Lyon win 4-3 at Nantes and reach the last 16 of the French Cup on Saturday.
But the run of Reunion Islanders JS Saint-Pierroise ended with a 1-0 loss away to Epinal, which scored deep into extra time.
Cherki put Lyon ahead in the first minute, deftly rounding goalkeeper Alban Lafont and then clipping the ball beyond a defender. He made it 2-0 in the ninth, slotting the ball through Lafont’s legs after being set up by right winger Bertrand Traore.
New signing Renaud Emond headed in Moses Simon’s cross from the left to pull a goal back for Nantes in the 16th. Cherki then showed great awareness to release forward Martin Terrier with a fine pass from midfield in the 37th for 3-1.
Cherki shaved the crossbar with a shot in the 60th and won a penalty in the 67th after robbing the ball off Thomas Basila. He generously allowed striker Moussa Dembele to take it, but Lafont saved Dembele’s attempt.
Two minuter later, Cherki threaded the ball down the right to Dembele, who slotted in, and the irrepressible Cherki set up another chance for Terrier.
Lyon’s defense remains vulnerable and Simon set up Imran Louza’s goal before heading in late on to ensure a tense finish.
Saint-Pierroise had caused an upset in the previous round by knocking out second-division Niort and the players again traveled 6,000 miles (around 9,700 kilometers) from the small island in the Indian Ocean, located off the east coast of Africa.
Saint-Pierroise, the former club of France midfielder Dimitri Payet, was looking to become the first club from the Reunion Islands to reach the last 16 and almost forced a penalty shootout, despite having forward Jean-Michel Fontaine sent off in the 15th minute.
But substitute Adel Berkane rifled home a half-volley for fourth-tier Epinal with two minutes left in extra time.
Also, there were wins for first-division sides Nice, Lille, Saint-Etienne and Strasbourg.
Lille won 2-0 at fifth-division Gonfreville thanks to goals from forwards Loic Remy and Victor Osimhen, while coach Patrick Vieira’s Nice side held on to beat third-tier Red Star 2-1.
Saint-Etienne won 3-2 at Paris FC, a team fighting relegation in the second division.
Paris FC led 2-1 with goals from former Paris Saint-Germain forward Jeremy Menez and ex-Rennes winger Jonathan Pitroipa. Teen forward Charles Abi equalized for Saint-Etienne with 20 minutes left before veteran right back Mathieu Debuchy netted the winner.
Strasbourg won 5-1 at fourth-tier Angouleme.
On Sunday, Rennes plays at fifth-tier Athletico Marseille and PSG travels to face second division league leader Lorient.
Rennes beats PSG in last year’s final.
VIDEO: PSG slumps to lucky draw after Cavani misses sitter
Paris Saint-Germain has very, very little to play for. They’re waltzing to the Ligue 1 title, already 17 points clear with seven matches left. They’re out of the Champions League, have already lifted the Coupe de la Ligue, and are into the semifinals of the Coupe de France.
So, it’s understandable that occasionally they’ll slip up, and they did that on Friday in predictable fashion. St. Etienne scored 17 minutes in after the PSG back line was beaten horribly by a simple cross. 22-year-old central defender Presnel Kimpembe picked up a pair of yellow cards in an 11-minute span before halftime, leaving PSG with 10 men. And even when down and looking to draw level, PSG was matched note for note by the home side at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
The worst moment of the game came in the 76th minute as Edinson Cavani returned to his roots by missing an absolute sitter. On the break, a brilliant pass threaded Angel Di Maria through behind the St. Etienne defense. He laid off to Cavani streaking beside him on the two-on-one, and Cavani had a wide open goal to shoot at…
PSG eventually secured a draw thanks to an absolutely tragic stoppage-time own-goal by Mathieu Debuchy, who appeared to suffer a glitch in the system as a cross came in from Thomas Munier and met the head of Kylian Mbappe. His flick missed, but it clattered the chest of a frozen Debuchy, and deflected straight into the back of the net.
PSG players might want to get their act together, for no other reason than the World Cup is approaching, and club form is always a major factor in determining international squads and helping players enter the competition on a roll.
The 32-year-old says a much more high-profile transfer was on the cards. “I had an opportunity, on loan at Manchester United, that he [Wenger] refused me because he did not want to strengthen a direct competitor at the time.”
In December, Wenger praised Debuchy for his value to the team, calling the Frenchman “mentally strong” and saying his value is in his fortitude as a backup, always ready to jump in for his chance. “Not many can do that, but Mathieu can do that,” Wenger said.
However, Debuchy did not appear in league play this season, and played just once for the Gunners in 2018, an FA Cup appearance against Nottingham Forest where he logged 87 minutes. He also has two EFL Cup matches under his belt this season, and four appearances in Europa League play.
Out Dan Agyei (Blackpool) Loan
Tom Anderson (Doncaster Rovers) Loan
Jimmy Dunne (Accrington Stanley) Loan
Harry Flowers (Guiseley) Undisclosed
Josh Ginnelly (Tranmere Rovers) Loan
Luke Hendrie (Shrewsbury Town) Undisclosed
Alex Whitmore (Chesterfield) Undisclosed
In Ross Barkley (Everton) Undisclosed
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) Undisclosed Emerson Palmieri (Roma) Undisclosed
Jack Boyle (Clyde) Loan
Dylan Cogill (Clyde) LoanFraser Horsfall (Kidderminster Harriers) Undisclosed
Danny Kane (Cork City) Undisclosed Joe Lolley (Nottingham Forest) Undisclosed
Jack Payne (Blackburn Rovers) Loan Ryan Schofield (AFC Telford) Loan
Tadhg Ryan (Released)
Cedwyn Scott (Dundee) Undisclosed
Out James Wilson (Sheffield United) Loan
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal) Swap
Alex Tuanzebe (Aston Villa) Loan
Matty Willock (St Johnstone) Loan
Charlie Scott (Hamilton Academical) Loan
Demi Mitchell (Hearts) Loan
Martin Dubravka (Sparta Prague) Loan
Kenedy (Chelsea) Loan Islam Slimani (Leicester City) Loan
Arsenal started the day off with a bang, signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund for a record fee, and there are more deals expected to be completed today, including Olivier Giroud to Chelsea and Michy Batshuayi to Chelsea. In addition, with the World Cup six months away, some other players will be looking for a loan around Europe for more playing time.
And remember, there is a live Deadline Day show on NBCSN and online from 5 p.m. ET today which you can steam by clicking on the link below.