Brandao double fires Marseille into final
A double by Brazilian striker Brandao saw Marseille come from behind to beat Toulouse 2-1 after extra time and move to within sight of their first silverware since 1993 as they reached the League Cup final on Wednesday.
Brandao - a €6 million signing from Ukraine's UEFA Cup winners Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2009 transfer window - struck with a header in the 85th minute. He then delivered the killer blow in the 104th minute to cancel out France international Andre-Pierre Gignac's opener for the hosts.
Marseille coach Didier Deschamps - who captained the Marseille side that won their last trophy the 1993 UEFA Champions League - was pleased for the players, who also still entertain hopes for winning the French Cup but are well off the pace even for a Champions League place in the league. "The most important thing is that we qualified," said the 41-year-old FIFA World Cup™ and UEFA EURO winning captain, who is also the youngest captain (24) to lift the Champions League trophy.
"We came here to achieve that. We needed to show character and the determination to come from behind and we displayed those characteristics. I don't know if we deserved to win. Our route to the final has not been a simple one but the fact of the matter is that we are going to the Stade de France. That gives me enormous satisfaction. A lot of the players have not played in a major final and I am happy for them."
Both sides had played out a relatively cagey first-half with Brandao going down in the ninth minute with a head wound, which required him to go off and return some six minutes later with the cut bandaged. The hosts' most effective player going forward in the first 45 minutes was their recent signing, England-born Turkish international Kazim Kazim, who had scored at the weekend after coming on as a substitute.
He made several incisive forays down the flank but his efforts were wasted on Gignac. However, Gignac was to make no mistake in the second half when he got free of his marker to head home Albin Ebondo's inch-perfect cross from the right.
Deschamps reacted immediately by replacing Mathieu Valbuena with Hatem Ben Arfa to give them more attacking edge in midfield. This paid off handsomely five minutes from time as Ben Arfa knocked in a great cross to the back post where Brandao was waiting gleefully to head home. Brandao's joy went into overdrive in the 104th minute when the ball fell to him on the edge of the box and he deftly touched the ball onto his left foot and shot home into the far corner.
On Tuesday Bordeaux booked their place in the last four with a 1-0 win over second division strugglers Sedan, who had knocked out the French champions of the competition at the same stage in 2008. Bordeaux are away to Lorient - who last week stunned Lyon in their quarter-final - on 17 February.