The last Coupe de la Ligue final should have been taking place on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain were scheduled to face Lyon at the Stade de France, but the coronavirus pandemic bringing almost all sport to a halt has thrown the postponed match into doubt.

It remains to be seen whether the final game in the competition's history will actually be contested, French football's governing body having voted to expunge the tournament at the end of this season.

The Coupe de la Ligue may not have the same prestige as the Coupe de France, but over the years it has delivered some memorable finals.

Here we pick out the five best showpieces.

1998 – Paris Saint-Germain 2-2 Bordeaux (4-2 on penalties)

PSG claimed the second of their eight Couple de la Ligue titles in a bona-fide thriller at the Stade de France. 

They were behind 30 minutes in when Sylvain Wiltord played in Johan Micoud to lash in the opener. However, PSG dominated thereafter and 10 minutes from time they levelled as Marco Simone fired home on the rebound after Ulrich Rame had kept out Rai's penalty.

Simone then struck the crossbar with a thunderous long-range volley, but Rai put PSG ahead in extra time with a bullet header.

The legendary Jean-Pierre Papin restored parity in the 114th minute but he was among those to miss in the shoot-out, blazing over the bar before Patrice Loko slotted in the decisive penalty.

It marked the second successive year Bordeaux had lost on spot-kicks in the final. Less than a month later, PSG made it a double with Coupe de France victory over Lens.

2000 – Gueugnon 2-0 Paris Saint-Germain

PSG suffered humiliation two years later as Gueugnon became the first and only team from outside the top division to win the trophy.

Marcelo Trapasso gave the second-tier side the lead as he reacted quickest to Nicolas Esceth-N'Zi's drive rattling the post.

Gueugnon withstood a barrage of PSG pressure but ensured a historic victory through Sylvain Flauto's individual effort.

2001 – Lyon 2-1 Monaco (aet)

A meeting between the previous season's top-flight champions and the club that would go on to dominate the decade lived up to expectations and ended in dramatic fashion.

Claudio Cacapa was the unlikely man to break the deadlock, the Brazilian defender chipping over Stephane Porato in the 35th minute. 

Shabani Nonda forced extra time as his volley squirmed past Gregory Coupet, but two minutes from the end of the second additional period substitute Patrick Muller met Sonny Anderson's left-wing cross to settle an absorbing encounter.

2003 – Monaco 4-1 Sochaux

There was no late drama for Monaco this time around as Didier Deschamps' side produced the kind of performance they dazzled Europe with en route to the Champions League final in the subsequent season.

It was Ludovic Giuly who lit up the Stade de France with a stunning display marked by two wondrous goals as Monaco netted four in the space of 21 second-half minutes.

He opened the scoring by finding the bottom-left corner with a vicious half-volley and, after Sebastien Squillaci and Dado Prso had effectively put the game beyond doubt, Giuly added gloss with an exquisite lob to cap one of the finest individual Coupe de la Ligue final performances.

2008 – Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Lens

Ten years on from their previous triumph in the competition, PSG reclaimed the trophy with the help of a dreadful late error from Lens defender Hilton.

Lens had looked the more likely to emerge victorious after Eric Carriere cancelled out Pauleta's deft lob.

However, with the game on the brink of extra time, Hilton bundled over Peguy Luyindula and Bernard Mendy's staggered run-up fooled Ronan Le Crom as he calmly converted from 12 yards to send PSG fans into delirium.

PSG were subsequently banned from the 2008-09 competition for an insulting banner unfurled by some of their supporters. The punishment was overturned on appeal, and they have since won the competition five further times under their Qatari owners.

Wednesday has seen the coronavirus outbreak take further toll on sport across the world.

Further matches have been postponed while others appear unable to go ahead due to increased travel restrictions between affected countries.

Governing bodies are also taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by cancelling planned meetings, while others are calling for further changes to the calendar.

Here are some of the latest events to be impacted.

Football's governing body has decided to cancel the next FIFA Congress in Addis Ababa on June 5. It has also pushed back the coming FIFA Council meeting in Zurich, due to be on March 20, until June or July. Attendees may be required to join via a video link.

In France, the Coupe de la Ligue final on April 4 between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon has been postponed. The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) said a new date would be announced in due course. It means the PSG-Metz and Lyon-Nimes Ligue 1 matches will be moved to the weekend of April 4-5 but be held behind closed doors. PSG will have Kylian Mbappe available against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, though: the striker is in the squad after overcoming illness, with L'Equipe among those to report he had tested negative for coronavirus.

Germany has seen the first confirmed instance of a footballer contracting coronavirus. Hannover defender Timo Hubers has tested positive but been praised by the club for his "absolutely exemplary" behaviour, as he immediately self-isolated before coming into contact with the rest of the squad.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich will face Union Berlin on Saturday behind closed doors, and the latter's derby with Hertha Berlin on March 21 will take place under the same circumstances. Borussia Monchengladbach have urged fans not to gather outside the stadium ahead of Wednesday's match with Cologne.

FIFPro, the footballers' union, has urged governing bodies across the world "to respect the wishes of players to take short-term precautionary measures including suspending training or competitions". Steps are certainly being taken in Spain, where the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has recommended football at all levels beneath the top two professional leagues to be called off for two weeks. The RFEF will reportedly meet with league officials to discuss similar proposals for LaLiga and the Segunda Division.

Meanwhile, Roma's match with Sevilla in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday is off after the Italian club confirmed they had not been given permission by the government to fly to Andalusia. Getafe had already refused to travel for their game with Inter in Italy.

The big news in England was that Manchester City versus Arsenal was called off as a precaution after the Gunners came into contact with Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis, who announced on Tuesday that he had caught the disease. In general, though, the UK has not been following the same stringent protocols as some other European nations and that is continuing for now. Arsenal's match with Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday has not been called off, while England's planned friendlies at Wembley this month against Italy and Denmark are, at present, going ahead. Forest have also confirmed all players and staff have tested negative for coronavirus.

In Scotland, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says the domestic season must be completed, even if behind closed doors, "because people have earned the opportunity to get to the stage where everyone is at". League chief executive Neil Doncaster claimed last week that completing the Premiership season could become "very difficult".

The England and Wales Cricket Board has told supporters "to maintain good levels of hygiene" during England's tour of Sri Lanka. As a precaution, players and staff have been told to avoid casual interaction with fans, such as selfies and autographs.

In Bangladesh, the World XI v Asia XI matches that would have marked the birthday celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman have been postponed, while the Indian Open has been called off following a consultation between the Indian Golf Union, the European Tour, the Asian Tour and tournament sponsors.

MotoGP has also announced that the Argentina Grand Prix has been moved to November. The opening race of the season in Qatar and the Grand Prix of the Americas have already been rescheduled.

The Coupe de la Ligue final between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon has been postponed amid the continued spread of coronavirus.

The game was due to take place at the Stade de France on April 4.

France's Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), which held talks with both clubs and the French Football Federation (FFF) on Wednesday, has not yet suggested a new date.

The competition is due to be scrapped after this season in order to reduce player workload.

As a result of the final being postponed, the PSG-Metz and Lyon-Nimes league matches will be staged over the weekend of April 4-5, behind closed doors.

The LFP had already confirmed on Tuesday that all Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches are to be held without fans present until at least April 15 as part of nationwide measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

PSG are due to face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last-16 second leg at Parc des Princes on Wednesday, which will also be behind closed doors.

There have been 1,748 confirmed cases of the virus in France, with 33 people killed.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos will be out for close to a month after injuring his hamstring in the Coupe de la Ligue win over Reims.

The Brazilian scored the opener in PSG's routine 3-0 semi-final victory on Wednesday but was forced from the pitch with around 20 minutes remaining.

He looks set to miss Ligue 1 games against Lille, Montpellier, Nantes and Lyon, plus next week's Coupe de France date with third-tier Pau.

In a statement, PSG announced: "Marquinhos suffered a hamstring injury on Wednesday at the Stade Auguste Delaune, and examinations confirmed a lesion of the biceps femoris.

"He is expected to be unavailable for three weeks."

PSG will hope to have the 25-year-old fully fit for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund on February 18.

Thomas Tuchel did not expect a free-flowing Paris Saint-Germain display against Reims but was satisfied with his team's display as the Ligue 1 leaders booked their place in the Coupe de la Ligue final.

PSG were 3-0 winners at Stade Auguste-Delaune on Wednesday, with Marquinhos opening the scoring prior to a Ghislain Konan own goal – substitute Nianzou Kouassi rounding off the win with what was the capital club's 4,000th competitive goal.

Lyon await in April's final, as PSG look to claim their ninth Coupe de la Ligue title. Though it was far from a vintage display, head coach Tuchel had no problems with his side scrapping it out at times against Reims, who have had the best defence in Ligue 1 so far this term.

"We made the efforts defensively, it was necessary. Who has a lot of chances against Reims? Nobody," Tuchel told Canal+.

"We took advantage of the set-pieces, it is part of the game, and we found a little more space in the second half. We played with seriousness, patience and efficiency, that's good."

Marquinhos was a star performer for PSG, though he was forced off midway through the second half with a problem that Tuchel confirmed is a recurrence of the groin injury which kept him out of the previous two matches against Lorient and Monaco.

"Marquinhos? He felt something, I hope it's not too serious, it's the same area that is affected," Tuchel added.

Presnel Kimpembe partnered Marquinhos at the back and the France international believes a meeting with Lyon will prove to be a fitting finale for the Coupe de la Ligue, which has been scrapped ahead of next season.

"It was not an easy match but we were able to play with quality, desire, and hold the score until the end," Kimpembe told Canal+.

"It was complicated, but the most important thing was qualifying. A final against Lyon – I don't know if it's the dream final, but it's a great poster!"

Paris Saint-Germain have the chance to regain the Coupe de la Ligue title after defeating 10-man Reims 3-0 to set up a final against Lyon, scoring their 4,000th goal in the process.

PSG were five-time defending champions when they were beaten by eventual runners up Guingamp in the quarters last season, but Thomas Tuchel's side had little trouble in progressing to their first final of the season on Wednesday.

Having had to wait until late on in their scrappy Coupe de France win over Lorient on Sunday, PSG had things far easier from the off thanks to Marquinhos' early header. 

Ghislain Konan's own goal doubled PSG's tally, with Marshall Munetsi's red card reducing Reims to 10 men before substitute Nianzou Kouassi bundled in the capital club's landmark competitive goal to wrap up the win in style.

Having made a vital last-ditch block as PSG withstood some early pressure, Marquinhos made his mark at the other end in the ninth minute, rising highest to head home Neymar's cross.

Kylian Mbappe wanted a penalty moments later, though referee Mikael Lesage rightly judged Reims goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic to have made no contact.

PSG had their second just after the half hour – the unfortunate Konan only able to divert Neymar's brilliant free-kick into his own side's net.

Chasing a club record, Neymar curled wide from the edge of the box on the hour, though Keylor Navas had to keep out Boulaye Dia's effort soon after, with PSG then losing Marquinhos to injury.

Reims' task was made tougher when Munetsi was sent off for a lunge on Marco Verratti, however, and it was Marquinhos' replacement Kouassi who was on hand to deal the final blow from close range after Rajkovic repelled Leandro Paredes' volley.

With tempers boiling over, Rajkovic was fortunate not to join Munetsi in seeing red when he lashed out at Mbappe as PSG cruised into the final.

What does it mean? Last Coupe de la Ligue final sees heavyweights meet

April's final will be the last of the Coupe de la Ligue, with the competition having been scrapped ahead of next season.

PSG v Lyon should prove to be a fitting finale, though – the capital club have won the tournament a record eight times, while seven-time Ligue 1 champions Lyon are looking for just their second Coupe de la Ligue title, having previously triumphed in 2000-01.

Captain Marquinhos leads by example

Marquinhos has been struggling with an injury in recent weeks, but returned to PSG's line-up as skipper at Stade Auguste-Delaune and put in an imperious display at the back, capping it off with a fine header for the visitors' opener at the other end. However, his night was marred by an injury, which forced him off midway through the second half.

No record for Neymar

Having scored in eight successive appearances, Neymar was on the verge of setting a new club record for a longest scoring streak. Despite playing a key part in both of PSG's first-half goals, the forward was unable to find the net himself as the chance to put his name into the PSG record books went begging.

What's next?

Both sides return to Ligue 1 action at the weekend, with PSG travelling to Lille on Sunday, a day after Reims host Metz.

Moussa Dembele is prepared to frustrate a host of admirers and remain at Lyon - at least until the end of the season.

Manchester United are reported to have sent a scout to watch striker Dembele in Tuesday's Coupe de la Ligue semi-final clash with Lille, the 23-year-old scoring a first-half penalty and then converting his spot-kick in a shoot-out as Lyon edged through.

Dembele, who has also been linked with Chelsea and Tottenham, joined Lyon in 2018 and is in no rush to leave.

He told reporters after the game: "I am a Lyon player and I will remain so until the end of the season.

"I do not think that there will be a departure this winter. Lots of things are being said but it's up to me to ignore that and remain concentrated on the pitch."

The news will come as a blow to United in particular with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thought to be keen to bolster his attacking options.

Marcus Rashford is out for at least two months with a double stress fracture in his back while the club have yet to replace Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, both of whom joined Inter over the close season, the latter on loan.

Dembele's stance will also please Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, who, speaking earlier this month, was adamant the former Celtic man would not be leaving the Groupama Stadium.

He said: "Moussa Dembele will not leave because he wants to stay and win something with OL.

"There have been offers for him and for other players, but none of those whom we want to keep will leave in January."

Lyon are into the Coupe de la Ligue final thanks to a 4-3 penalty shoot-out win over Lille after a 2-2 draw, which Loic Remy had secured with a controversial late spot-kick.

Rudi Garcia's Lyon appeared to have rescued victory through Houssem Aouar's wonderful goal in the 85th minute, only for Remy's contentious kick to take the game to penalties, but the home side did eventually prevail thanks to Ciprian Tatarusanu making one save and Renato Sanches missing the target.

Portugal international Sanches had put Lille in front early on with a clinical finish from distance, though Lyon did not trail for long, as Moussa Dembele converted a penalty to level the score in a first half that was otherwise devoid of excitement.

The second half was not much better either until the latter stages, when Aouar netted in style before Remy levelled amid controversy to take the game to a shoot-out.

But Tatarusanu saved from Jonathan Bamba with the first kick, and Sanches shot wide to ultimately end Lille's chances of reaching the final to face either Reims or Paris Saint-Germain.

 

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel is thrilled by Kylian Mbappe's ambition to win a "triple-whammy" of the Champions League, Euro 2020 and the Olympics football tournament this year.

Mbappe, 21, has already won nine trophies in senior football, including the 2018 World Cup, in which the striker scored four times.

PSG again look on track to dominate French football this season, as they lead Ligue 1 and remain in the hunt in the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue.

But the trophy that has continued to elude them since Qatar Sports Investments took over as majority shareholders in 2011 is the Champions League, and Mbappe wants to finally end that wait this season, before then going on to enjoy Euro 2020 and Olympics success with his country.

While this ambition is not new to Tuchel, the German feels such belief will stand him in good stead.

"Well, okay, that is good," Tuchel told reporters when asked about Mbappe's declaration. "It means that we can work, it is a great challenge, three great challenges and goals.

"But with him, it's always like that. He is convinced of that and I think it's a good thing because it means he is very confident and you need confidence to achieve such goals.

"I hope, at least for PSG, that he will be able to achieve the first [the Champions League] and then the second and third for France."

Since initially joining on loan from Monaco in 2017, Mbappe has scored 59 goals in 70 Ligue 1 matches and forged an impressive partnership with Neymar, who boasts a haul of 45 from 49 outings across the same period.

The pair appear to have an impressive understanding of each other on the pitch, though Tuchel insists PSG do not train in an attempt to improve Neymar and Mbappe, but rather learn how best to capitalise on their brilliance.

"We always work with the positions during training, and together they train during possession games, for example," Tuchel said. "They like to play alongside each other. They are very smooth in their movements and there is a great partnership between the two of them.

"But it's not on us to improve them because they have the quality to do that. We have to find spaces and create a structure and the formation where both are free to attack.

"Maybe we have to create an understanding of when and where they can take risks or when and where they have to be more careful, but both are brilliant."

PSG travel to Reims in the Coupe de la Ligue semi-finals on Wednesday, with Mbappe and Neymar expected to feature after being rested during Sunday's 1-0 Coupe de France victory over Ligue 2's Lorient.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel is overjoyed at the impact Mauro Icardi has had since joining on loan from Inter.

Icardi left Inter under something of a cloud, as his relationship with the club was said to have become increasingly strained after a frustrating season in which he scored only 11 Serie A goals.

He was then frozen out by new coach Antonio Conte and the striker eventually secured an exit on September 1, joining PSG on an initial loan deal for the 2019-20 campaign.

Since moving to Paris, the 26-year-old has found his mojo once again, scoring nine times in 11 Ligue 1 matches, helping to form a formidable front four with compatriot Angel Di Maria, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

A hat-trick in the 6-1 Coupe de la Ligue win over Saint-Etienne on Wednesday was Icardi's most recent contribution, taking him to nine goals in his past 10 matches across all competitions, though Tuchel did not wish to discuss the purchase option that is reportedly set at €65million.

"I'm very impressed with Mauro Icardi," Tuchel told reporters ahead of Sunday's Ligue 1 meeting with Monaco.

"I met him here for the first time. The guy is super reliable and very, very professional. He understands football tactically, works defensively and is very, very efficient.

"His work and his reliability for the team is very impressive, but I don't want to talk about the purchase option."

The attacking unit of Icardi, Neymar, Mbappe and Di Maria has been dubbed the 'Fantastic Four', and Tuchel is impressed by their thirst for work, which he believes is vital for their tactical system to succeed.

"We are more reliable and beefier than in 2019," Tuchel said. "Our team has matured with the recruitment of the pre-season.

"There is a good frame of mind. We have a great team with healthy competition and I want to maintain this good level.

"We attack together and we defend together. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful things in football. A team cannot win with five players. The best level requires playing as a team.

"If you want to play 4-4-2, there are a lot of things to do and spaces to protect. Everyone has to do what is necessary and the players are doing it at the moment.

"With 4-4-2, the sides have to be more careful about defensive replacement than when playing in 4-3-3.

"I want players who are free to attack, but who also protect the spaces. I'm asking of my offensive players that they try to chase the ball in order to achieve a high pressure and recover the ball quickly.

"We have players capable of doing this counter-pressing. Neymar is smart enough to do it, Mauro Icardi or Angel Di Maria and Pablo Sarabia, too. We always find the best possible mix for us to keep this balance."

Mauro Icardi would welcome an extended stay at Paris Saint-Germain.

The on-loan Inter striker plundered a hat-trick as Thomas Tuchel's side thumped Saint-Etienne 6-1 in the Coupe de la Ligue on Wednesday, taking his tally to 17 goals in 19 appearances across all competitions for PSG.

Icardi's agent and wife Wanda Nara sparked a fresh wave of speculation over the player's future by telling Eurosport "nothing is certain" in terms of whether the Ligue 1 champions will exercise an option to purchase, reported to be in the region of €70million, at the end of the campaign.

"We haven't talked about it with the club yet, but for sure I'm very well here," Icardi said after his hat-trick heroics, as quoted by Corriere dello Sport. 

"There are still four to five months before the end of the championship, then in May, when everything is over, we will talk about it.

"But if I had to stay here, I would be happy."

Icardi's resurgence in Paris has left the club's all-time leading lscorer Edinson Cavani as the odd man out in an all-star forward line, with the formidable trio of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel Di Maria lining up alongside the central striker.

As such, Cavani is a reported target of Manchester United, Arsenal and Atletico Madrid this month.

"To play in the place of Cavani, after many years of having done the best in PSG's history, it is a responsibility," Icardi added when asked about the Uruguay international.

"I knew this. When I play, I give the best of myself, just as when he does. The most important thing is the team."

Mauro Icardi has exceeded expectations at Paris Saint-Germain following his Coupe de la Ligue hat-trick, according to team-mate Marco Verratti.

Icardi's three goals led French champions PSG past 10-man Saint-Etienne 6-1 and into the semi-finals on Wednesday.

The Argentina international forward has flourished since arriving on an initial loan deal from Serie A outfit Inter at the start of the season, scoring 17 goals across all competitions.

PSG midfielder Verratti hailed Icardi – who was linked to Juventus, Napoli and Real Madrid prior to joining Thomas Tuchel's side – after his latest exploits in Paris midweek.

"Mauro? He may not touch the ball, he knows the ball will reach him and he will score, he is always ready," Verratti told Canal +.

"This is his main characteristic of Mauro. We didn't think it was going to be as good, the first six months are always difficult, but it is incredible and we hope it will continue like this."

Icardi has hit the ground running in the French capital, with nine of his goals coming in Ligue 1 as defending champions PSG top the standings by seven points.

"Starting the year well is important for everyone and for the team," Icardi told reporters. "We already did it with the last match in the Coupe de France, we demonstrated the team we have. And today, at home, we once again demonstrated the team we had, facing another opponent, by making a great match.

"The fantastic four [Icardi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel Di Maria] ? We are working to improve, to have an oiled collective game, to attack together, to defend together, to do it in the best way. We know what we have to do. That's why we will have good results.

"We know that if we want to play with four forwards we must all make the sacrifices together. And that's what we've been doing since the coach changed systems. And we're doing it very well. "

Kylian Mbappe dodged questions about his contract negotiations with Paris Saint-Germain, insisting "it's not the right time to make some waves".

Mbappe has been heavily linked with a move to LaLiga giants Real Madrid, where head coach and fellow Frenchman Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his admiration for the 21-year-old star.

PSG sporting director Leonardo has previously revealed talks over a new contract are progressing, with Mbappe's current deal running through to the end of the 2021-22 season.

Asked about his future following PSG's 6-1 Coupe de la Ligue quarter-final rout of Saint-Etienne on Wednesday, Mbappe told reporters: "I am ready to play football first. Because we are in January.

"We start the final sprint, where we can compete for trophies. I think it's not the right time to make some waves.

"The club are calm, serene, everyone is walking in the same direction so talking about external things of the pitch would not be realistic or good."

Mbappe was on target against 10-man Saint-Etienne as PSG cruised into the semi-finals thanks to Mauro Icardi's hat-trick midweek.

PSG led 3-0 at half-time via Icardi, Neymar and a Jessy Moulin own goal, and the hosts maintained their dominance in the second 45 minutes.

Mbappe helped Icardi complete his hat-trick with a pair of assists before the latter returned the favour by setting up the Frenchman in the 67th minute – Saint-Etienne's Yohan Cabaye bagged a consolation four minutes later.

On the relationship between Mbappe and Icardi, who is on loan from Serie A outfit Inter, PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel said: "I don't know if they reach another level but I know they love to play together.

"They play all four with great complicity especially Kylian and Mauro. It's obvious and it's necessary. If you play with four strikers, it's necessary that they try to find themselves on the pitch. They try to put each other in the best conditions. They give the ball to make an assist or to find a guy in a better position.

"They did great tonight. We speak a lot about the four strikers but you know that for me it's all about the team, we need to play as a team with the eleven players. That's football."

Paris Saint-Germain cruised into the semi-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue after Mauro Icardi scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 victory over 10-man Saint-Etienne.

The 2017-18 champions were in control of a one-sided contest before Wesley Fofana received his marching orders, leaving his team-mates to face an onslaught from PSG's four-pronged attack.

Icardi opened the scoring early in the first half and, after Neymar dinked in the second and goalkeeper Jessy Moulin bundled a third into his own net, the former Inter striker fired a second-half brace.

Not to be left out of the goal glut, Kylian Mbappe scored a sixth before Yohan Cabaye's late strike proved little consolation for Claude Puel's men, who bowed out with their tails between their legs.

Thomas Tuchel can reflect on another rampant attacking performance from his side, who have scored 29 goals in their last six games in all competitions, and remain very much in contention for silverware on four fronts.

Saint-Etienne were carved open with ease after two minutes when Thomas Meunier's slide-rule pass into the box found Icardi, whose angled shot Moulin would have saved had the visiting goalkeeper stood tall but it flashed over his crouching frame and high into the net.

Having earlier been booked for handball, Fofana was sent off after he caught Angel Di Maria's heels as the Argentina winger sprinted towards goal, and the 10 men were powerless to stop Neymar chipping Moulin for PSG's second after Di Maria threaded the assist.

Any hopes Puel had of rallying his team at the interval were spoiled when Mbappe's audacious backheel put Di Maria through for a cross that ricocheted off two defenders' shins before rebounding off the post, onto Moulin's legs and into the unguarded net.

Di Maria started the move that delivered PSG's fourth just four minutes after half-time, his pass releasing Mbappe whose cross deceived Moulin and left Icardi to fire into an empty net.

Saint-Etienne failed to cope with Mbappe's pace down the left and he burst clear before squaring to Icardi for the hosts' fifth shortly before the hour mark, and Icardi returned the favour 10 minutes later when he met Di Maria's long pass with a volley that played Mbappe in to score at close range.

Substitute Edinson Cavani had the ball in the net 10 minutes from time but he was flagged offside, compounding the Uruguayan's frustrations at missing out on much of a prolific period for PSG.

After Di Maria felled substitute Edmilson Indjai Correia in the box 20 minutes from time, Cabaye had a penalty saved by Sergio Rico but the midfielder met the rebound with a header that glided over the goalkeeper and into the net.

What does it mean? Icardi catching Mbappe

With few teams able to go toe-to-toe with PSG this season, their forwards are competing among themselves and Icardi's treble takes him to within two goals of catching Mbappe's tally of 19 in all competitions as the club's leading goal-scorer.

What a difference a year makes

It seems hard to believe that little short of a year ago Icardi was injury plagued, unsettled and facing an unclear future at Inter.

His revival under Tuchel has been spectacular and here he was back to his clinical best.

Juan to forget

On a night when Saint-Etienne barely got a sniff of the ball, Juan Bernat's overplaying at the back still threatened to allow them back into the game early on and he was wasteful with the ball going forward.

What's next?

PSG will likely face a stiffer test when they entertain Monaco in Ligue 1 on Sunday, while Saint-Etienne are at home against fifth-placed Nantes.

Edinson Cavani looks set to stay at Paris Saint-Germain after Thomas Tuchel suggested January departures will breed uncertainty following Leonardo's reported decision to keep the Uruguayan.

Cavani, 32, is into the final six months of his PSG contract and had been linked with an early exit after falling out of favour, but that now seems unlikely.

Sporting director Leonardo is said to have told Cavani he will not be allowed to leave in January, despite the pre-season arrival of Mauro Icardi limiting him to just four Ligue 1 starts this term.

The former Napoli striker was reportedly a target for Manchester United and Arsenal, however he looks set to see out the final months of his contract in Paris.

When asked if he agreed with Leonardo's reported decision, Tuchel said: "We need to make difficult decisions and we [Tuchel and Leonardo] have the same opinion.

"We don't like to change during the winter. It's not monopoly, it's a locker room, men who get on well together and who have formed a spirit.

"Each player entering or leaving creates uncertainty. If it's not necessary to change, that's fine. I am happy with the group."

PSG have not suffered with Cavani's decrease in playing time, as Icardi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have scored 28 Ligue 1 goals between them.

But Tuchel did not rule out the experienced forward fighting his way back into contention.

"It depends on the quality of others and of him," Tuchel said. "It's healthy competition between attackers.

"Kylian and Mauro have been great together. Edinson is fighting for his place. This is what we ask of him.

"He can do it. He's a great player, we never forget about him, but there is great competition. They can all play, but I can't promise anyone anything."

Cavani scored a brace in Sunday's 6-0 Coupe de France win over Linas-Montlhery, and while Tuchel was happy with his display, he also highlighted it was a match against sixth-tier opposition and suggested he will pick a first-choice XI for the Coupe de la Ligue visit of Saint-Etienne on Wednesday.

"It's good and I'm happy for Edi, but we played with Edi, [Julian] Draxler, [Pablo] Sarabia and [Adil] Aouchiche against a team from the sixth division," the German added.

"They played well but that's what we expect of them. This is the best thing for Edi and the attackers because it gives confidence, but we can't forget what Mauro, Neymar, Kylian and Angel [Di Maria] did for several games.

"They have the opportunity to start together tomorrow [Wednesday]. We are a great team, we need each player in good shape."

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