CDL final: Cavani brace gives PSG victory
By I. Holyman
Edinson Cavani scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain defeated Olympique Lyonnais 2-1 at the Stade de France on Saturday to pick up a record fourth Coupe de la Ligue title.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Stade de France, Paris
Olympique Lyonnais 1 - 2 Paris Saint-Germain
Beaten by OL last weekend, a defeat that followed their Champions League exit to Chelsea, PSG were clearly determined not to allow the trophy to escape their clutches. In the absence of the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cavani had been expected to step up, and after disappointing recently, he symbolised the Ligue 1 champions' vivacity, quickly snapping up the opening goal (4') and confidently adding a penalty (33') to pave the way for PSG's triumph. Alexandre Lacazette (56') replied for OL, whose valiant second-half display kept the tension high through to the final whistle.
While last year's final between Stade Rennais FC and AS Saint-Etienne was rather a drab occasion, this year's edition had more action packed into just the opening 15 minutes. After Bafétimbi Gomis had strode forward with promise and fired wide, Maxwell broke down the left, and darted into the box after a smart one-two with Ezequiel Lavezzi. The Brazilian clipped the ball over the advancing Anthony Lopes for Cavani to stab gleefully into the empty net. The Uruguayan's delight was evident as he wheeled away from goal, his critics - recently so vocal - quickly silenced.
Lucas to the fore
The dissenting voices would have died out completely had, after a poor clearing header from former PSG defender Milan Bisevac, Cavani sent a stunning volley either side of Lopes rather than at the OL 'keeper, who could box clear. At the opposite end, Nicolas Douchez, in goal in place of Salvatore Sirigu as he has been throughout the season in the domestic cup competitions, must have had his heart in his mouth when Thiago Silva cut out a Henri Bedimo cross and nearly sent the ball into the bottom corner of his own net.
With the sides understandably unable to sustain the high-octane tempo, a lull ensued before Lucas ensured the atmosphere hotted up again. Surging in behind the Lyon back four to reach Thiago Silva's lofted long ball, the Brazilian was caught by Lopes, who had leapt dangerously in an attempt to halt the PSG man. After referee Stéphane Lannoy had pointed to the spot, Cavani imperiously swept home his second.
The former SSC Napoli striker should even have had a hat-trick before the break, but after Lucas' powerful run and pass gave him the clearest of clear-cut opportunities, Cavani was left with his head in his hands as his attempted sidefoot finish sailed high over Lopes' bar.
Lacazette was far more accurate as he brought OL back into the game shortly after the break. The pacy striker will hope to earn his place in France's World Cup squad for this summer's trip to Brazil, and his burst forward and low, driven finish will no doubt have caught the eye of Les Bleus' boss Didier Deschamps.
Dominant in the first half, but dominated early in the second, PSG tried to find a response to their fired-up opponents. Christophe Jallet darted down the right and found Lavezzi, but the Argentine's cross was cut out by the alert Bisevac. Had Alex headed home, rather than wide of the target, when he rose to meet a free-kick, PSG might have cruised through to the final whistle.
Instead, their fans' nerves were frayed as OL pushed forward, though it was PSG who came closest to adding to the scoreline. Substitute Javier Pastore had a shot deflected wide by Samuel Umtiti, and the Argentine was only denied the opportunity to score a third PSG goal when Umtiti prevented Blaise Matuidi's cross from reaching him unmarked at the back post in the dying seconds.