After a tense 120 minutes against a solid and dangerous OL, PSG 'keeper Keylor Navas stepped up in the shoot-out to clinch his side the final Coupe de la Ligue title 6-5 on penalties (0-0) and complete the capital club's third League, Cup, League Cup and Super Cup quadruple.
Friday, 31 July 2020
Stade de France, Paris
Coupe de la Ligue BKT Final
Paris Saint-Germain 0 - 0 Olympique Lyonnais - 6-5 on penalties
Navas had had precious little to do in the match before extra-time gave way to a penalty shoot-out, but the Costa Rican international proved up to the task as he got a hand to Houssem Aouar's effort before victoriously swatting Bertrand Traoré's penalty aside. Substitute Pablo Sarabia then stepped up and fired home, and the rest is history...
With the mercury in the high 20s, and the two sides having played just one official match between them since March, the players on both sides did well to make it a tactical and physical encounter. In fact, Lyon's 3-5-2 kept PSG pegged back for long stretches, with Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi - partnered in a front three with Neymar - seeing almost nothing of the ball.
The Brazilian, however, was in the mood, curling one just the wrong side of the post (8') before testing Lopes with a 25-metre free-kick (53'), and this set the tone for much of the evening. Lyon pressed, PSG broke and Lopes saved. The Portugal shot-stopper also denied Idrissa Gueye's powerful drive (43'), just as Navas got the better of Maxwel Cornet's thumbing effort (81').
OL continued to press and harry PSG through extra time, with Lopes conjuring another save, this time to deny the improving Di Maria, and Cornet spurning an excellent chance as he blazed a volley over after being left unmarked at the far post (112').
Lyon defender Rafael was handed his marching orders for a reckless tackle on Di Maria just as the whistle blew for the end of extra time, and so it was that Lyon ended the match with ten men before Navas' heroics and Sarabia's cool head won the day.
Paris now turn to their attentions to the Champions League quarter-final against Atalanta in Lisbon on 8 August, where a win would see them reach the semis for the first time in 25 years. Meanwhile Lyon, who saw a chance to clinch a 24th-straight European ticket slip through their fingers, also have European duties to attend to, namely defending a one-goal aggregate lead in the return leg of their last-16 tie with Juventus on 7 August.
THE PLAYER: Neymar Jr
Although team-mate Marco verratti was named Man of the Match, the Brazilian superstar did plenty to live up to his billing as the club's main man going forward - especially in the injury absence of Kylian Mbappé - as the Champions League quarter-final tie with Atalanta looms.
Neymar never stopped running and never stopped trying to get that elusive opener. In fact, his header from substitute Ander Herrera's deft chip (87') was Paris Saint-Germain's most dangerous effort of the evening and, had it not been for the sharp reflexes of excellent OL 'keeper Anthony Lopes, it could well have proven the match winner.
THE STAT: 9
Paris Saint-Germain now boast nine Coupe de la Ligue BKT in their well-stocked trophy cabinet, which means that the capital club - who won the inaugural edition back in 1995 - have won over a third of the 26 titles in the competition's history.
A great way for club captain Thiago Silva, whose contract comes to term at the end of Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League campaign, to farewell the Parisian fans after six ultra-consistent, triumphant seasons with Les Rouge et Bleu - unless there is a shock signature before the end of the transfer window...