PARIS– Olympique Lyon 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-times league champions their fifth French Cup victory.
Lyon, who are fourth in Ligue 1 and lost the League Cup final 1-0 to Olympique 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 news conference. “We produced a beautiful performance. We saw in the past years how difficult it is to clinch a trophy. The French Cup is a major one, a very popular competition.”
“It’s a fresh step forward for the club after three seasons of drought. I hope it will give us a new momentum.”
The Ligue 1 outfit were in total control at the Stade de France but wasted numerous clear-cut chances.
The third division side, who ousted Marseille in the quarter-finals and Stade Rennes in the last four, went closest to a goal when Lyon keeper 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. They are the best team we have faced during the campaign. They were far better than us.”
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 keeper Yassine El Kharroubi in the 24th minute only to see his shot saved on the goal line by defender Frederic Weis and Bafetimbi Gomis’s follow-up header went wide.
After Lisandro scored what proved to be the winner, the Argentina forward sparked panic in Quevilly’s defence to set up Yoann Gourcuff who failed to take advantage of a clear chance. Lyon tightened their grip after the break and 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 could not find an equaliser and despite a valiant effort they failed to become the first amateur side to win the French Cup.