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Lyon stun Lorient to reach League Cup final
Published : 31 Jan 2012 22:46:50
Lyon fought back from two goals down to win 4-2 at Lorient in a pulsating French League Cup semi-final on Tuesday and reach their first domestic final since their French Cup success in 2008.
Lorient led 2-0 with 10 minutes to play, but Alexandre Lacazette pulled a goal back before Jimmy Briand's 94th-minute equaliser took the game into extra time, where goals from Bafetimbi Gomis and Lacazette were to prove decisive.
"It was a real cup match, a very open match," said Lyon coach Remi Garde.
"It was physical and mental strength that took us through. The players had to dig deep within themselves for what was needed to take us into the final."
Lyon, bidding to end a four-year trophy drought, had several chances to break the deadlock in the first half but talismanic striker Lisandro Lopez failed to hit the target despite three one-on-one opportunities.
Lorient also threatened on several occasions during a hugely entertaining first 45 minutes at Stade du Moustoir, notably when Maxime Barthelme hit the crossbar with a magnificent dipping volley from 30 yards.
The hosts broke the deadlock in the 59th minute, with Swiss international Innocent Emeghara swerving past Lyon captain Cris before curling a low shot around Hugo Lloris.
Kevin Monnet-Paquet doubled Lorient's advantage with a back-post tap-in nine minutes later, but Lacazette gave Garde's side hope in the 80th minute with a vicious strike from just outside the area.
Lorient appeared to have weathered the visitors' pressure but in the fourth minute of injury time, Briand rose unmarked at a corner to head home a last-gasp equaliser and send the game into extra time.
The hosts had been seconds from their first cup final since 2002, when they won the French Cup and reached the League Cup final, but they fell behind for the first time in the tie when Gomis buried a loose ball in the 12th minute of extra time.
Lacazette tapped home his second goal in the dying seconds to give Lyon a margin of victory that belied how very close they had come to going out.
Defending champions Marseille, aiming to win the trophy for the third year in a row, host Mediterranean rivals Nice in the second semi-final on Wednesday.