Masculins / CDL - FINAL

Cause another upset in the capital!

Published on 18 April 2014 at 8:00 PM
Six days after knocking off the Parisian giants in Ligue 1, Olympique Lyonnais are back up against a wounded beast looking for revenge. A Coupe de la Ligue crown is up for grabs. The club's European future could be assured at the Stade de France.

It was a symbol for the whole game. The 1.72 metre frame of youngster Jordan Ferri stood tall against an enraged Thiago Motta. Ferri was the symbol of a team that didn't take a backward step, that stood tall against the Parisians last Sunday in Ligue 1 and has left a lasting memory. It was a prestigious victory, David versus Goliath and capped off a stirring performance. Of course the context of the final of the Coupe de la Ligue is different, but the result in the first act of this double header made its mark... on both camps.

For Lyon, the match created an amazing bond between the players. After all their efforts in the huge matches against Monaco, Saint-Etienne and Juventus, home and away, went unrewarded... four losses in a row... three at home... OL could have thrown in the towel... But they didn't. That's not the way it works. Convinced they were on the right track, the team kept their heads down and working hard. And they the hour came against the capital club who had lost only once previously in the league this season. It was a 'little' upset...

The result probably didn't hurt the Parisians any more than their painful exit against Chelsea in the Champions League. Perhaps they were already beaten when they walked out onto the pitch at the Stade de Gerland. But they will certainly be looking for revenge. Their pride has taken a hit. It's a question of honour. To finish the season with just one title will be a failure for the side that dreamed so much bigger at the start of the season. Their European appetite was not sated. Victory in the Coupe de la Ligue is now an obligation.

For Lyon, a trophy is a trophy. They have one once, but have taken part in four finals. They haven't won this title since 2001. Victory will open the doors to Europe next season. A victory will qualify for the third qualifying round of the Europa League. It's a big deal given that, for the moment, they are assured of nothing via the league. This could be their biggest match of the season...

Many players will be missing. But it's not their fault. Rémi Garde has become accustomed to the injuries. Once again he will be without Gourcuff, Fofana and Grenier - all key players in his preferred midfield diamond. Koné was on the treatment table, but he should be right for the final. Aside from the injuries, OL have two players suspended... Vercoutre and Ferri, the hero of a certain April 13. Paris boast a massive squad and a lot less injuries. Only one player is unavailable. But he's a big one: Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be present to help his teammates on Saturday night.

Act II of this double header, after the happy ending to Act I, gives plenty of reason for hope to OL. Hope to win their first trophy since 2012. Hope to be back in Europe as quickly as possible...


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