Marseille lifts League Cup after edging Lyon
SAINT-DENIS, France (AP) -Substitute Brandao scored an extra-time winner as Marseille beat Lyon 1-0 on Saturday to win the League Cup for the third straight year, ending a run of 12 matches without a win and salvaging a miserable season with a place in the Europa League.
The Brazilian struck in the 104th minute, beating goalkeeper Hugo Lloris from close range after latching onto Benoit Cheyrou's cross from the left.
"It's not a case of relief tonight, but more of an immense joy,'' Marseille coach Didier Deschamps said. "The credit goes to the players, and to everyone who has worked hard every day. No one can take this trophy away from us.''
Deschamps is the first coach to win the League Cup three times, and Marseille will be mightily relieved after losing 11 and drawing one of its past 12 matches to slip to ninth place in the French league.
"It's wonderful for us after the tough times we've had recently,'' Deschamps said. "The players again proved that they could go and win a trophy, so hat's off to them.''
Lyon, meanwhile, has a chance to make amends in the French Cup final in two weeks' time.
"We didn't play as well as we could have. We were a bit lackluster and we made a lot of mistakes,'' Lyon coach Remi Garde said. "Marseille did close us down well, so congratulations to them. A final boils down to experience as well. They had already won it twice before. Their experience certainly counted for a lot.''
Marseille pressed early on and Loic Remy almost latched onto Rod Fanni's cross from the right in the seventh minute.
In a poor first half, Marseille pushed forward down both flanks, with left-winger Ayew often an outlet. But there was little in the way of creativity amid some thudding challenges from both sides.
Lyon winger Michel Bastos drove a low shot across Marseille's goalmouth late in the first half, but the ball just eluded striker Lisandro Lopez as he tried to get a foot onto it.
Marseille winger Mathieu Valbuena found space and tried his luck with a shot from just outside the penalty area early in the second half, but his tame effort went wide, while Lyon midfielder Kim Kallstrom's freekick flew straight into the wall shortly after.
Neither goalkeeper was properly tested until the 64th minute, when Lloris tipped Morgan Amalfitano's header onto the post following a fine cross from Mathieu Valbuena.
Winger Andre Ayew twice went close with headers in the closing stages, before Lyon center half Dejan Lovren was sent off with seconds remaining for a second yellow card.
Striker Bafetimbi Gomis rose to meet Kallstrom's corner late on but headed wide with the match petering out into extra time.