Hoarau saves PSG's season!
Guillaume Hoarau's extra-time strike (105'+2) was enough to claim PSG's eighth French Cup title in a hard-fought final against Monaco, whose coach Guy Lacombe failed at the final French Cup hurdle for the second year running, at the Stade de France on Saturday night.
Antoine Kombouaré’s PSG found the best way to repay their fans after a tough season – by producing a committed and dominant display over Guy Lacombe’s Monaco to take the French Cup final 1-0 and ensure a return to European competition for the capital club.
It is the eighth French Cup title for PSG but the first trophy of former PSG defender Kombouaré’s managerial career and the last in a long line of honours for retiring captain Claude Makelele, for whom it remained the only domestic cup he had not won after successes in Spain with Real Madrid and in England with Chelsea.
Fittingly, the outgoing World Cup winner played a part in the goal that sent PSG back into European competition, taking a neat touch on the edge of the area at the end of the first half of extra time and releasing Christophe Jallet, Paris’ best player on the night, into the area.
The tirelessly dangerous right back drew a fine save from Ruffier with an angled shot, but the Monaco ’keeper could only parry across the face of goal to the waiting Guillaume Hoarau, who had only to nod home into the empty net to clinch the Cup and rescue his side’s season (105’+2).
Hoarau's extra-time strike set Monaco into action, but despite their renewed efforts and the presence of super-sub Moussa Maazou, whose late goals saw Monaco through the quarters and the semis, it was too little too late for the principality club.
Back to the drawing board
The loss sees Monaco coach Guy Lacombe, whose Rennes side lost out in last season’s decider to Ligue 2 side Guingamp, lose a second successive final at the Stade de France. Lacombe’s ninth-placed Monaco will now need a stellar final four games of the league season to have any hopes of qualifying for Europe through their league placing.
Effectively with a home-ground advantage at the Stade de France, in the northern Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis, Paris Saint-Germain looked far more dangerous than their southern rivals, especially in a first half that saw them make almost all the running against a Monaco side playing on the counter.
Chances not taken
Just 14 minutes in, PSG central defender Mamadou Sakho had his goal-bound effort saved off the line by Colombian Juan Pablo Pino before Ludovic Giuly drew an incredible save from Stéphane Ruffier a minute later with powerful shot.
Some fine work from the excellent Jallet ended with Turkey international Mevlut Erding firing wide (41’) before Pino, Monaco’s best player in the first half, produced a stunning solo run to eliminate four PSG defenders before Apoula Edel ended the fireworks with a desperate save (43’).
Despite Monaco’s playing closer to their potential in the second half, with Brazilian Nenê going close with a free kick on the hour mark, it was Erding who went closest to settling the match in regulation time, seeing his chipped shot sail over Ruffier and onto the crossbar in the 82nd minute.