Lyon win Cup to complete double
Sidney Govou grabs an extra-time winner to give the Ligue 1 champions a 1-0 victory over PSG. Paul Le Guen's defeated capital outfit dominated for long periods but it's Alain Perrin's men who lift the trophy.
Coupe de France Final, Stade de France
Saturday, May 24, 2008
A Sidney Govou goal in extra-time gave Lyon their first Ligue 1 and Coupe de France double to complete the most successful season in their history.
After a thrilling match, in which it was almost implausible that the scoreline remained goalless for so long, the jubilant Lyon players and coach Alain Perrin celebrated in front of more than 25,000 travelling Lyon fans at the Stade de France.
The result was harsh on PSG, who dominated for long spells during normal time and hit the woodwork twice. It was a sad end to his PSG career for Pauleta, who had a goal disallowed on the stroke of half-time. It looked a marginal decision.
The result also doused PSG's hopes of completing their own double - they lifted the Coupe de la Ligue in the same venue with a 2-1 win over Lens in March but were unable to add a second knock-out triumph here.
The outcome was a personal triumph for Perrin, who has achieved something none of his predecessors have - that is, claiming two domestic trophies in one season. Jacques Santini, Gerard Houllier and PSG coach Paul Le Guen all led Lyon to Ligue 1 titles - but none was able to add a French Cup or Coupe de la Ligue.
Le Guen's side took control from the early stages. Zoumana Camara headed against the bar on 10 minutes to mark out the capital outfit's intentions. Rothen provided a number of assists as Pauleta came close four times, seeing two efforts blocked and forcing a save from Gregory Coupet.
Then, on the stroke of half-time came the disallowed goal. Pauleta brilliantly headed Rothen's free-kick past Coupet but the referee accepted a flag that the Portuguese striker was offside.
PSG continued in the same vein after the break, and hit the woodwork for a second time on 63 minutes. Yet again Rothen was the provider, with Mario Yepes this time heading against the woodwork. Clearly it wasn't to be PSG's night.
The pace dropped amid a rash of late substitutions while Lyon goalkeeper Coupet showed exactly why he's France's number one goalkeeper when he produced a stunning save to deny Bernard Mendy in the fourth minute of injury-time.
Extra-time was an advert for those who believe the 30 minutes of additional time should be dropped in favour of going straight to penalties - until Govou scored. Lurking unmarked at the far post, a Karim Benzema cross reached the France international and he volleyed home powerfully from close range.
PSG attacked frantically in the closing stages and Diane missed a glorious chance to equalise when he failed by inches to get on the end of a Rothen cross. On the break in injury-time at the end of extra-time, PSG goalkeeper Jerome Alonzo - selected ahead of Mickael Landreau - made a point-blank save from Kader Keita to keep the score down.
But PSG were unable to create any more chances themselves, which meant Lyon were crowned Coupe de France winners for the first time since 1973. LYON: Coupet - Reveillere, Squillaci, Boumsong, Grosso - Govou, Toulalan, Juninho (Clerc 117), Kallstrom (Bodmer 67) - Fred (Keita 73), Benzema. Coach: Alain Perrin. PARIS SG: Alonzo - Ceara, Camara, Yepes, Armand - Bourillon, Clement (Souza 105), Rothen - Diane, Pauleta (Luyindula 80), Chantome (Mendy 83). Coach: Paul Le Guen.
LYON: Coupet - Reveillere, Squillaci, Boumsong, Grosso - Govou, Toulalan, Juninho (Clerc 117), Kallstrom (Bodmer 67) - Fred (Keita 73), Benzema. Coach: Alain Perrin.
PARIS SG: Alonzo - Ceara, Camara, Yepes, Armand - Bourillon, Clement (Souza 105), Rothen - Diane, Pauleta (Luyindula 80), Chantome (Mendy 83). Coach: Paul Le Guen.