Lyon sink amateurs to land Cup trophy
Lyon saw off feisty third-tier outsiders Quevilly 1-0 to win the French Cup final at the Stade de France on Saturday, Argentine striker Lisandro Lopez's goal saving the French giants' blushes.
Lisandro's first half strike ended a four-year trophy famine for Lyon and gave coach Remi Garde his first silverware since assuming control at the Stade Gerland.
For Quevilly it was the end of a glorious run which had seen the amateurs from Normandy overcome Marseille and Rennes en route to their second Cup final appearance, 105 years after their first.
Garde commented: "We didn't under estimate Quevilly, they did well, don't forget they had already knocked out Marseille.
"It was hard, Lyon had a great deal of respect for this team. It was a great final disputed in a good spirit."
His opposite number, Regis Broaurd, said: "I am very proud of what we have produced, it wasn't easy. I was very pleased with our performance in the second half.
"I take my hat off to Lyon, it was a deserved victory."
After a typically frenetic cup opening Lyon it was who almost took a ninth-minute lead when Lisandro expertly controlled a cross from the left only to see his shot ricochet off Quevilly goalkeeper Yassine El Kharroubi's near post.
With France President Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, his rival in next week's presidential run-off, in the stands Lyon then lost Dejan Lovren who was stretchered off in tears with what looked like an Achilles tendon injury.
The Croatian international defender was replaced by Bakary Kone.
Quevilly were being made to suffer by the hot favourites who were only denied a goal in the 24th minute when Frederic Weiss saved Alexandre Lacazette's shot on the line with El Kharroubi beaten.
Bafetimbi Gomis then headed the rebound wide from close range.
Lyon got the goal their superiority deserved five minutes later when El Kharroubi rushed out of his goal to snuff out the risk posed by Lacazette charging down the right.
The 20-year-old striker then succeeded in getting a cross into the box for the unmarked Lisandro to rifle a half volley right-footed into an empty goal.
The Argentine forward's strike settled the multi-millionaires' nerves as they sought to avoid being ridiculed in this David and Goliath clash and at the same time erase the memory of this month's League Cup final loss to Marseille.
It was open house in the Quevilly box but somehow the rank outsiders escaped further punishment and went into the break trailing by just the one goal.
Lyon dished up more of the same after the restart - Lacazette only denied by the crossbar in the 49th minute, but despite their dominance the second goal they sought to kill the game off failed to come.
Indeed around the hour mark Quevilly began to find their voice.
The minnows, lying a yawning 49 rungs below Lyon in the French league ladder, launched a series of incursions into Lyon territory, and they almost scored a stunning equaliser on 65 minutes.
Set up by a pin perfect pass down the left Anthony Laup blasted a shot at Hugo Lloris' near post, the France goalkeeper's outstretched hand tipping the ball onto the crossbar and out of danger.
Lyon though held on for their fifth Cup title against a Quevilly side which had covered itself in glory.