Briand leads Lyon past Montpellier in shootout
HARRISON, N.J. (AP) - Even with his team trailing by a goal with 13 minutes to go in regulation, Lyon forward Jimmy Briand was confident the French Cup champions could make some winning plays.
Briand scored the tying goal in the 77th minute and converted the decisive penalty kick, rallying Lyon to a 4-2 shootout win over Montpellier following a 2-2 draw Saturday in the French Trophee des Champions.
"I wasn't worried,'' Briand said. "We had a lot of the ball and we kept on pushing. We kept on trying. We had a lot of team solidarity and didn't give up after we fell behind.''
Briand scored the tying goal off a fine feed from Alexandre Lacazette.
"After halftime, there was room for us to create more chances,'' Briand said. "We eventually cracked through and got the equalizer. I was anticipating the play well and I got a good pass from Lacazette. I just focused on applying myself and go to the ball with acceleration.''
Briand then beat goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdan in the shootout. Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, the French national team starter, made two saves in the shootout.
Lyon coach Joel Bats liked what he got from Briand, who had been struggling at the end of last season.
"He's a player who works very hard for the team,'' Bats said. "When he gets that kind of break, he can be very effective. He was definitely involved in our best moments today.''
John Chukwidi Utaka scored in the 27th minute for Montpellier, the defending Ligue 1 champion. Bafetimbi Gomis tied it for Lyon in the 44th, and Emmanuel Herrera converted a penalty kick in the 56th to put Montpellier back ahead.
"We thought it was possible that it was enough for us to win,'' Utaka said. "But Lyon kept on pushing. Even when they got the second goal, we still thought we had a chance.''
The annual Super Cup matchup, played outside France for the fourth straight year, pits the league winner against the French Cup champion.
Aly Cissokho, Bakary Kone and Yassine Benzia also scored on the penalty kicks for Lyon. Souleymane Camara and Mapou Yangambiwa converted for Montpellier.
"It's always important to win a trophy when you get a chance to do so,'' Briand said. "New York is a magical place and we were more motivated to play in New York and for a Cup final.''
The second half was played to a frantic pace with a lot of action, especially in the final 10 minutes.
Lyon had two great chances to score after Montpellier took a 2-1 lead on Herrera's goal.
In the 58th minute, Gueida Fofana got the ball at the 18-yard line all alone after a scramble in front. However, his right-footed blast just sailed over the crossbar.
Three minutes later, Maxime Gonalons also had a great opportunity inside the penalty area. Gonalons found himself alone with the ball at the 16-yard line and unleashed a right-footed shot that also sailed over the bar.
In the 68th minute, Gourcuff took a direct free kick from the 20-yard line that appeared headed for the goal, but Montpellier goalie Geoffrey Jourden made a leap and a dive to punch the shot out of danger.
Two minutes later, Benzia took a low bouncing shot at Jourden, who smothered the shot.
Finally, in the 77th minute, Lyon broke through. Lacazette made a great run, stopping, then spinning past two defenders, putting a cross to Briand, who blasted it home for the score that tied the match at 2-2.
"The second half, we played with much more freedom,'' Bats said. "The first half, we didn't play in a liberated fashion. When they got the penalty kick, that stimulated our players and got them to play harder. We finished the game with more momentum.''
One minute later, Montpellier lost midfielder Marco Estrada to a red card for a hard tackle on Benzia, forcing the underdog to play a man down for the remainder of the match.
It didn't hinder Montpellier's scoring chances, as Gaetan Charbonnier seemed to flick a shot past Lloris, but Kone kicked it aside at the goal line in the 82nd minute.
Soon after, Lyon went in on a 2-on-1 breakaway, but Lacazette misfired wide left on a shot that could have been the game winner. Lacazette had another chance in the 88th minute, but his chip shot hit the left post after he lofted it over Jourden's head.
Montpellier had three chances in the final two minutes. Souleymane Camara took a shot that Lloris stopped and Charbonnier fired the rebound wide left. Charbonnier also had another shot that Lloris deflected in the closing minute, sending the match to penalty kicks.
Montpellier had the best of the early play, with Utaka creating havoc, getting through the Lyon defense to record two solid first half scoring chances, eventually getting the game's first goal.
"I got lucky when the ball touched the last defender,'' Utaka said. "The ball came out to me again. I got a chance to score twice and I made sure that I just stayed forward toward the goal.''
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