Cavani fires Paris Saint-Germain to Coupe de la Ligue title
Edinson Cavani scored twice to fire Paris Saint-Germain to a 2-1 win over Lyon in the French League Cup final on Saturday.
Cavani bundled in the opener after four minutes before converting a 32nd-minute penalty. The Uruguay striker should have completed his hat-trick before half-time and Lyon, who beat PSG in the league last week, found a way back into the game through Alexander Lacazette on 56 minutes.
PSG, who were still without injured star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, held on though and are almost certain to compete a domestic double with a 10-point lead in Ligue 1.
PSG made the perfect start when, after just four minutes, Maxwell combined brilliantly with Ezequiel Lavezzi on the left before darting into the area and pushing the ball beyond the onrushing Anthony Lopes to provide Cavani with a simple finish.
It was proving to be a pulsating start to the first major final of the season and Bafetimbi Gomis almost leveled straight away, but Lyon’s striker could only find the side-netting from close range after Lacazette picked him out.
Both sides continued to trade punches and an unmarked Gomis headed straight at Nicolas Douchez from eight yards at one end before Cavani drew a superb stop from Lopes with a stinging 20-yard volley at the other.
Laurent Blanc’s side thought they had doubled their lead on 15 minutes when Alex headed Lavezzi’s free-kick beyond Lopes, but the assistant’s flag went up on the far side and cut short the Brazilian’s celebrations.
PSG eventually doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark in contentious circumstances. Thiago Silva’s long ball released Lucas Moura, who was recklessly brought down by Lopes, but, despite the foul appearing to be outside the area, referee Stephane Lannoy pointed at the spot and only showed the Lyon keeper a yellow card.
Cavani took charge of the spot-kick and confidently rammed the ball into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Blanc’s half-time instructions seemed abundantly clear as PSG came out seemingly happy to just keep hold the ball and make Lyon do all the running as Remi Garde’s team huffed and puffed during the early parts of the second half.
However, Lyon were handed a lifeline when, with their first real attack since the break, Lacazette burst from midfield with a powerful run before firing a superb finish beyond Douchez from outside the area.
Les Gones continued to do most of the pressing, but clear-cut chances were few and far between. Substitute Nabil Fekir had the pick of the bunch with 10 minutes to play, but the young midfielder could only turn Lacazette’s delivery from the left into the side-netting.
PSG’s Jeremy Menez had the opportunity to wrap up the win in stoppage time when Lyon got caught with too many men forward, but the France international fired into the side-netting, having worked space on the left.
It was not a costly miss, though, as Blanc’s team claimed their first silverware of the season.