Lyon, Nice advance to cup semifinals

Lyon, Nice advance to cup semifinals

Published Jan. 11, 2012 12:00 a.m. ET

Ten-man Lyon rallied with goals from Kim Kallstrom and Lisandro Lopez to beat Lille 2-1 Wednesday and reach the semifinals of the League Cup.

Nice and Lorient also advanced to the last four. Nice rallied three times against Dijon before winning a penalty shootout 5-3 while Lorient edged second-division Le Mans 1-0 with a goal from substitute Gilles Sunu.

Lyon next plays Lorient in the semifinals while Nice visits Marseille, which beat Caen 3-0 Tuesday.

Lyon got off to a bad start as fullback Mouhamadou Dabo was red-carded in the 11th minute for a late tackle on Lille defender Laurent Bonnart.


Lille nearly capitalized on its numerical superiority in the 24th when Dimitri Payet played Rio Mavuba in but Lyon winger Michel Bastos rushed back to make the block and the ball looped over the bar.

Instead, it was former England international Joe Cole who put Lille ahead in the 28th, collecting a through ball from Eden Hazard to fire home a powerful strike from the edge of the box.

But Kallstrom converted a rebound to equalize in the 41st as Lille goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama could only palm a free kick from Bastos into the path of the Sweden midfielder.

''I'm very proud and very happy for my players,'' Lyon coach Remi Garde told France 3 television. ''There were a lot of things that went against us today: the injury picked up by Dejan (Lovren) while warming up, the sending off that seemed a bit undeserved and a bit unfair to us. But we stuck together.''

Lille dominated ball possession in the second half and added more pressure on the Lyon defense by replacing midfielder Idrissa Gueye with Poland forward Ireneusz Jelen in the 57th.

But Lyon still showed plenty of ambition as it chases its first title since 2008, and took the lead against the run of play in the 65th. Bastos outpaced Bonnart on the right flank to pull the ball back for Argentine striker Lopez who netted with a spinning shot from 11 yards.

Lille was also reduced to 10 men in the 82nd when fullback Mathieu Debuchy picked up a second yellow card for kicking Lopez in the hip while attempting to clear the ball.

Earlier, Dijon thought it had secured the win against Nice when it took the lead for the third time with just three minutes left to play in extra time, but Argentine fullback Fabian Monzon fired a powerful free kick into the roof of the net in the 119th minute to level the game at 3-3 and force the shootout.

Nice winger Anthony Mounier then converted the winning spot kick after Dijon midfielder Younousse Sankhare had missed the target.

In a seesaw game, Dijon opened the scoring in the 19th when midfielder Thomas Guerbert headed a cross from Abdoulaye Bamba into the bottom corner. Nice equalized in the 35th as Franck Dja Djedje redirected a long pass toward Mounier, who beat goalkeeper Baba Tchagouni to the ball to flick home.

Dijon went in front again the 62nd when striker Brice Jovial sprinted past Nice defender Civelli to slide in a low cross from Benjamin Corgnet.

But Dijon's failure to clear a free kick helped Nice rally again, as Civelli beat the offside trap to pounce on a loose ball and shoot past Tchagouni in the 78th.

In extra time, Dijon earned a penalty when Nice defender Kevin Gomis had tripped Sankhare, and Eric Bautheac sent goalkeeper Raul Fernandez the wrong way to give the visitors a 3-2 lead in the 117th minute.

But Dijon, which had stunned Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 in the previous round, was again unable to protect its lead in the closing minutes.

''There are things to fix in our game but our mindset is good,'' Nice defender Francois Clerc told the club's website. ''Maybe we've realized how difficult the club's situation is.''

Both Nice and Dijon are fighting relegation in the French league.

Le Mans was the only second-division team left in the competition and held off Lorient until the 70th minute, when midfielder Mathieu Coutadeur released Sunu down the right wing and the substitute scored with a low shot from a tight angle.

Georgian goalkeeper Giorgi Makaridze prevented Le Mans from losing by a bigger margin, denying Coutadeur in the 87th and stopping a close-range header from Kevin Monnet-Paquet in the 88th.