Mon, Apr 30, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Lopez scores winner as Lyon lift the French Cup

Reuters, PARIS

Lisandro Lopez of Olympique Lyonnais shots against Quevilly in the French Cup final at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis near Paris, France, on Saturday.

Photo: Reuters

Olympique Lyonnais lifted their first trophy in four years after Lisandro Lopez secured a hard-fought 1-0 win over gallant amateurs Quevilly in the French Cup final on Saturday.

The in-form Argentina striker slotted the ball into an empty net from an Alexandre Lacazette cross in the 28th minute to give the seven-time Ligue 1 champions their fifth French Cup victory.

Lyon, who are fourth in Ligue 1 and lost the League Cup final 1-0 to Olympique de Marseille two weeks ago, have secured a spot in next season’s Europa League playoff round.

“I am proud we gave the club a trophy,” coach Remi Gard told a press conference. “We produced a beautiful performance. We saw in the past years how difficult it is to clinch a trophy.”

The Ligue 1 outfit were in total control at the Stade de France, but they wasted numerous clear-cut chances.

The third-division side, who ousted Marseille in the quarters and Stade Rennais in the semis, went closest to a goal when Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris diverted a powerful Anthony Laup shot on to the woodwork in the 66th minute.

“The first half was very difficult. We saw how deep the technical gap is between the two teams,” Quevilly coach Regis Brouard told reporters. “We have to face the reality and congratulate Lyon. They deserved this victory.”

Brouard thanked the 30,000 Quevilly fans who had packed the stadium to support their team until captain Gregory Beaugrard lifted the Cup alongside Lyon counterpart Cris.

“We needed them and they have been very supportive. This will be my best memory of this night,” he said.

Two weeks after Lyon played poorly in the League Cup final, which they lost without having a shot on target, Lopez inspired his side to make a much more aggressive start.

The striker was unfortunate to hit the post with Lyon’s first chance after a fine move in the 12th minute.

Lyon pushed for a goal as their opponents struggled to contain runs into the box, but they lacked a cutting edge.

Lacazette ran past goalkeeper Yassine El Kharroubi in the 24th minute, only to see his shot cleared off the goal-line by defender Frederic Weis and Bafetimbi Gomis’ follow-up header went wide.

After Lisandro scored what proved to be the winner, the Argentina forward sparked panic in Quevilly’s defense to set up Yoann Gourcuff, who failed to take advantage of a clear-cut chance.

Lyon tightened their grip after the break and they were unlucky to see Lacazette’s deflected shot hit the woodwork in the 50th minute.

Quevilly tried to rally as the game went on, but they could not find an equalizer and despite a valiant effort, they failed to become the first amateur side to win the French Cup.

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