Sat, April 28, 2012
Sports > Soccer

Minnows Quevilly block Lyon path to French Cup glory

2012-04-28 07:57:16 GMT2012-04-28 15:57:16(Beijing Time)

Having already lost one Cup final this month, Lyon are hoping to get their hands on the French Cup by beating third-tier outsiders Quevilly in Saturday's showpiece at the Stade de France.

Lyon have not won a trophy since lifting the French Cup for the fourth time by beating Paris Saint-Germain at the Stade de France in 2008 but, as well as ending their silverware drought, Remi Garde's team will also be eager to erase the memory of their most recent visit to France's national stadium.

Just two weeks ago in the League Cup final against Marseille, Lyon never got going and lost 1-0 after extra time to a side who have otherwise not won a game in three months.

There was a sense of anti-climax about both Lyon's performance in that game, and about the occasion as a whole.

But, given the choice, Lyon would surely rather win the national knockout competition.

Especially as it would be difficult to ever recover from the humiliation of losing to amateur opponents whose annual budget, in comparison, is 79 times smaller, not to mention less than a third of the annual salary of OL midfielder Yoann Gourcuff.

"Personally, I am not considering the prospect of losing," says Gourcuff's teammate Maxime Gonalons.

"We would be ridiculed if we lost. We have one objective, and that is to win."

This will be Lyon's 53rd match of an exhausting season, and consistency has been a problem throughout, with their League Cup final reverse being followed by a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at Toulouse that effectively ended their chances of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

However, they showed great fighting spirit to come from two goals down and beat Lorient 3-2 last weekend.

"We are finding things difficult at the moment but we are trying to find solutions for Saturday because this final is very important to the club," added Gonalons.

"We can't use the number of games we've played as an excuse, we are taught to be able to cope.

"They (Quevilly) will be playing the biggest game of their lives so we need to show the necessary desire and aggression."

Lyon have certainly had plenty of practice at playing against lower-league opponents, having beaten three teams from the lower reaches of the French game as well as Bordeaux and PSG en route to the final.

However, Quevilly have already eliminated Marseille and Rennes and will have most neutrals on their side as they seek to go one better than the famous Calais side of 2000.

On that occasion, the amateurs from the Channel coast went down 2-1 to Nantes in the final, with only a last-minute penalty winning it for the top-flight club.

Quevilly -- from Petit-Quevilly, a suburb of the Normandy city of Rouen -- have been to the final before, losing 3-0 to Marseille in 1927.

They beat Lyon 1-0 in the last 16 in 1968 while, more recently, they saw off three clubs from the top two divisions before going down 1-0 to PSG in the 2010 semi-finals.

Despite being officially labelled an amateur club, coach Regis Brouard's squad includes 17 players who make a living from the game, either courtesy of full-time federal contracts or as youth coaches.

Many of these players came through the academies of leading French clubs, including midfielder Zanke Diarra, the brother of Marseille and France star Alou.

Former Montpellier player Brouard, who has his sights set on taking charge of a club in the top two divisions, led Quevilly to promotion last season and they now lie 13th in the 20-team third division.

They will prepare for the game at the French national team's headquarters at Clairefontaine, before going to the Stade de France with the pressure off.

"We have nothing to lose. We will be going there to achieve something. The pressure is all on Lyon, while we have everything to gain," says defender Frederic Weis.



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