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Every story has an end, even the most beautiful ones. Sometimes it’s a happy end, sometimes it simply isn’t. Quevilly didn’t have the happiest ending but to some extend their expectedly unexpected 0-1 defeat in the Coupe de France still has an happy ending. What amateur team can pretend to have kicked out two teams from the elite league of their country in the cup and played amazingly well in the final against a powerhouse such as Olympique Lyon? US Quevillais has lost the second Coupe de France final in their history (first one in 1927) but their myth of Coupe de France experts lives on. It’s meant to last forever for sure.
In an entertaining final, Quevilly gave their best but weren’t lucky enough. A first half in which Lyon was clearly dominating and took the lead thanks to Lisandro “Licha” Lopez, was followed by another 45 minutes in which Quevilly’s myth had almost broken through. But they couldn’t unfortunately create any dangerous chances, except at one, two particular moments.
Lyon, who did take Quevilly seriously as Rémy Garde assured in the post-match interview, started with their best formation: Hugo Lloris was the one to keep a clean sheet, Réveillère, Cris, Lovren and Cissokho composed the back four while Garde had opted for a compact midfield with Gonalons, Kallstrom, Lacazette, Gourcuff who made his first appearance since some months, and Lisandro. Gomis was single striker in Garde’s 4-2-3-1. However, this 4-2-3-1 changed very often to a defensive 4-3-3 that was dangerously counter-attacking and pressing forward very well.
The underdogs from Petit-Quevilly started in a 4-2-3-1 with El-Kharroubi in the goal, defended by Vanoukia, Weis, Beaugrard and Vardin. Zanké Diarra and Jouan were organizing USQ and building up in the defensive midfield while Capelle, Valéro and Laup were assisting Collinet. Les Quevillais were mainly defending in a 4-1-4-1 with Diarra as last resort in front of the defense. Jouan moved up to press forward in these cases.
Quevilly kicked off and immediately kicked the ball deep into Lyon’s half who were quite surprised by this move. Thus Collinet could win the first corner after not even 60 seconds. This corner was as harmless as every corner from both sides, though, and Hugo Lloris had no problems to save it.
The men in the yellow jerseys were very impressive in the first 5 minutes and after an absolutely nasty and brutal tackle from Gonalons on Capelle, the Bretons showed a dangerous and unseen free-kick version but again Hugo Lloris stayed cool.
Afterwards Olympique Lyonnais became much stronger and it was visible who were the professionals and amateurs. Their 4-3-3 troubled the amateurs who were vulnerable over Vanoukia’s left wing. OL got their first corner in the 9th minute after a beautifully and fast built-up attack. El-Kharroubi could only keep a clean sheet and made some great parades but also had to thank the woodwork several times. In the 12th minute, Lisandro Lopez only hit the post after he had amazingly got rid off his marker.
Quevilly immediately hit back with a good shot from 30m by Jouan that just went wide but Lyon kept on (counter-)attacking very well and was also pressing forward very effectively. In the 18th minute Lovren had to be replaced by Kone due to a bad looking injury.
Garde had actually found out how to choke Quevilly’s tactics off what explains the 4-3-3: his team was pressing forward deep in Quevilly’s half. Consequently the amateurs couldn’t build up properly and played many misdirected passes what immediately lead to counter-attacks. Furthermore Lyon had a quite physical approach, another thing that their opponents dislike.
In the 23rd minute, the strong Lacazette broke through on his right wing again but his great effort wasn’t awarded since it was heroically cleared on the line. At the latest at this moment, the mainly yellow Stade de France went nuts and everybody knew it was going to be a fantastic football match since Quevilly did try their luck in Lyon’s half.
Finally, in the 27th minute, Lisandro Lopez scored the deserved opener for the best French team of the last 12 years. Again Lacazette had got rid off Vanoukia as well as El-Kharroubi, and his pass in the back of the defense found Lopez who didn’t dither at all and his strong shot found the back of the net. Beaugrard failed to clear on the line.
During the remaining 18 minutes of the first half, Lyon was clearly dominating and did get pretty often in the back of Quevily’s defense thanks to Lisandro and Lacazette who were Lyon’s best players. Quevilly was rather helpless because they were defending too high and their offside trap wasn’t working at all. Lyon’s conversion of chances was poor, though, so the scoreline was 1-0 as the referee blew the half time whistle.
Neither of both teams had made any changes at half time but somehow both teams had changed roles. Quevilly became much stronger while Lyon started playing very poorly. They allowed much more space to Quevilly who were defending even higher. Sadly USQ couldn’t handle the first square meters of space very well and wasted some good opportunities to create dangerous chances (e.g. Vanoukia in the 48th minute).
In the 50th minute, Lacazette’s deflected shot, as one of Lyon’s few appearances in front of El-Kharroubi, hit the crossbar and Lisandro’s follow-up shot was blocked to a corner.
In the following 40 minutes Quevilly was dominating and their myth was about to break through but they were lacking luck and experience despite a huge effort. The amateurs had some opportunities to counter-attack what they did very directly but Collinet couldn’t trouble neither Cris nor Kone.
Quevilly also had some great combinations but they were a bit too nervous and lacking precision in the last, crucial pass. In the 66th minute, Lloris brilliantly saved a strong shot by the very lively Anthony Laup after the latter had amazingly broken through. Zanké Diarra’s great display was topped by Anthony Laup who was USQ’s best player in the second half until Kallstrom tackled him brutally in the 74th minute. Laup had to be substituted later…
In the last 10 minutes, Quevilly was clearly willing to score the, meanwhile richly deserved, equalizer but they were too unlucky. Pressing forward even more, they were allowing much space to the Lyonnais forward line who had one great opportunity in the 86th minute. Cissokho had broken through on the left wing, his pass found Gomis but being all alone, his shot wenz wide.
3 minutes of injury time weren’t enough to see Quevilly’s equalizer and so Lyon won their first trophy since 2008. After all, it was a deserved win thanks to a very good first half in which the woodwork saved Quevilly several times…
After the match, both managers rightly praised each other’s and their own teams for a very entertaining and beautiful final. Régis Brouard, USQ’s manager, admitted to be frustrated and El-Kharroubi was crying a bit. His team mates were walking around the stadium and savored the beautiful atmosphere (almost the whole stadium was yellow). In the end Cris proved what a great sportsman he is and offered Quevilly to lift the cup up as well. I am surely not the only who thinks that the heroes from Petit-Quevilly had deserved this…
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