English League 1

MK Dons still eyeing top-six

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Wed, 17 Apr 2013 12:23:00

Lorient coach Christian Gourcuff says winning the Coupe de France is now the club's main focus after they booked their place in the semi-finals with a last-gasp 2-1 win over St Etienne on Tuesday night.

St Etienne, who contest the Coupe de la Ligue final this weekend, saw their hopes of a double ended by an injury-time Jeremie Aliadiere winner as Lorient brought a halt to Les Verts' unbeaten start to 2013.

"I am satisfied with our qualification for the semi-finals, and also with the way we played in the first half," said Gourcuff.

"Tactically, we were able to do exactly what we had planned. We created a lot of space. There were some interesting passages of play in the game, especially considering the fact that the team we put out there was somewhat experimental. Winning the Coupe de France is now our goal for the end of this season."

ASSE had designs on reaching the last four of this competition after amassing a 17-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

That streak - which has them on the verge of Champions League qualification in the league - was made shaky when Maxime Barthelme opened the scored just before half-time, although they pulled level through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with 15 minutes left.

But rather than kick on for victory Lorient stunned their hosts as Aliadiere stole the win in time added on.

"The overriding feelings are disappointment and frustration," said St Etienne coach Christophe Galtier. We had a real desire to go further in the competition, but we were punished. The players lacked a bit of rhythm, but we had a real desire to go through and we are very disappointed."

In the night's other match, Troyes put their woeful Ligue 1 form to one side to beat fellow relegation rivals Nancy 3-0.

All the goals arrived after the break through Jeremie Brechet (51), Julien Faussurier (74) and Fabien Camus (81).

"It's a nice result for us," said Troyes coach Jean-Marc Furlan. "The cup is special.

"You never know what is going to unfold and it puts you in a totally different state of mind. It was a semi-final and I am very pleased that the players have responded accordingly."

The showpiece match on May 11 marks the third refereeing assignment for the 42-year-old at the national stadium.

Marriner took charge of the 2010 Community Shield between Manchester United and Chelsea and was the man in the middle for Cardiff's defeat to Blackpool in the Championship play-off final earlier the same year.

"It's a great honour to be asked to referee the 2013 FA Cup Final especially as it coincides with the 150th anniversary of The Football Association," said Mariner, who was the fourth official for Manchester City's 1-0 win over Stoke in the 2011 final.

Marriner's team of match officials on for the final comprises assistant referees Stephen Child and Simon Long and fourth official Anthony Taylor.

Daniel Powell and Patrick Bamford scored the goals for the visitors which leaves the U's five points above the bottom four with two games remaining.

Dunne said: "I thought we were great and I was delighted with our overall effort and commitment. We didn't deserve to lose 2-0 and the difference between the two sides was a bit of quality.

"The quality of the likes of Bamford and (Luke) Chadwick was there to see and that's why they're near the top of the league.

"But you can't fault our commitment and we had players coming off with cramp and they've given their all.

"I thought we dominated in the first half but switched off for a moment and these things happen. We hit the post and we've had scrambles and shots on goal.

"We hit the side-netting and had good deliveries into the box.

"It was just that final ball and on another day we'd beat another team by four or five goals.

"I'm really proud and I can't wait for Saturday (against Shrewsbury)."

Goals from Daniel Powell and Patrick Bamford gave the Dons a 2-0 victory, which leaves them four points off the top-six with two games to go.

They host relegation-haunted Scunthorpe at stadium:mk this weekend and Robinson said: "We still live in hope and it's all down to us now.

"It's our last home game this weekend and let's hope that we put a performance in. If we win, it might not be our last this season.

"I thought we tried to play football and in the first 15 minutes we looked like a class act. I thought we moved the ball well and got in between the lines.

"But when we had to roll up our sleeves and throw our bodies on the line and throw our heads in, we did that too.

"The whole back four have been very brave in the way that they've had to deal with things."

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