Lyon edge Quevilly to lift Coupe
© AFP

Lyon defeated gutsy third-tier Quevilly 1-0 to win the Coupe de France final at the Stade de France on Saturday, with Argentinian forward 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 piece of 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.

"We didn't under estimate Quevilly, they did well, don't forget they had already knocked out Marseille," Lyon coach Garde said. "It was hard, Lyon had a great deal of respect for this team. It was a great final fought 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, it was Lyon 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.

It was hard, Lyon had a great deal of respect for this team. It was a great final fought in a good spirit.
Remi Garde, Lyon coach

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 denied a chance on 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 found a deserved goal just five minutes later, though 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 right-footed half-volley into an empty goal.

The Argentinian forward's strike settled Lyons' nerves as they sought to avoid being ridiculed in this David and Goliath type clash, and at the same time, erase the memory of this month's Coupe de la Ligue final loss to Marseille.

There were wide openings 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, with Lacazette only denied by the crossbar in the 49th minute. However, their dominance failed to pay off as they were unable to bag a second. Indeed, around the hour mark Quevilly began to find their voice.

The minnows, lying 49 rungs below Lyon in the French league ladder, launched a series of attacks 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, butthe French goalkeeper's outstretched hand tipped the ball onto the crossbar and out of danger.

Lyon held on for their fifth Coupe de France title against a Quevilly side which had covered itself in glory.