Retro Red Star - OL: 21 years ago, Sidney Govou wrote the first chapter of his legendary story
It was the1999-2000 season. Over the first 50 years of its existence, OL had slowly been starting to make their mark among the top teams in the league, and after the previous season had seen the team finish in third place, the Lyonnais were aiming for the podium again. Winner of the Intertoto Cup in 1997, Jean-Michel Aulas' club now wanted a domestic trophy and the Coupe de France represented a great opportunity.
The Lyon troops led by Bernard Lacombe had reached the round of 16 after having narrowly eliminated Tours and Troyes. In front of them now was Red Star, a legendary club in the first half of the 20th century, but which had lost much of its grandeur and which at that time was playing in the National. In this match, the Lyon manager picked a first-choice team; Coupet, Malbranque, Laigle and Anderson were among the starters.
But Lyon’s salvation came from a young player from the academy, who years later would become one of the club’s legends. Behind after a goal from Doukantié, Les Gones needed to react to avoid humiliation, and that's when Sidney Govou emerged. The 19-year-old had first appeared on a Ligue 1 pitch a few weeks earlier, replacing Linarès in the 52nd minute. In the 81st minute, he equalized, scoring the first goal of his professional career, before doing the same a few moments to earn himself a double and to allow his side to progress to the quarterfinals. It was a spectacular start to life at the top for the Puy-en-Velay native, who would sign his first professional contract at the end of the season. In that season's Coupe de France, OL would be eliminated in the next round by AS Monaco, soon to be crowned champion of France, but would console themselves two years later by winning their first league title.