Despite an annual budget of C1.9 million ($2.5 million) compared to Lyon’s C150 million, it was far from a mismatch as Quevilly harried Lyon all over the field, even though the semiprofessional had few chances. Quevilly plays two divisions below Lyon in the National League.
“We approached the match with a lot of respect and humility for Quevilly,” Lyon coach Remi Garde said. “Well done to them.”
Lyon had not won anything since clinching the league and cup double in 2008, had the better chances and Lopez volleyed Lyon ahead in the 28th minute.
“It’s the best trophy, given the hard times we’ve had recently,” said Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, who replaced expensive hire Claude Puel with Garde, the former youth team coach, last summer after three seasons without any silverware.
Lyon goalie Hugo Lloris had little to do but made a superb fingertip save to push Anthony Laup’s stinging drive onto the crossbar in the second half.
“Quevilly showed a lot of courage,” Aulas said.
Lyon had late chances for more goals but the victory made amends for losing the League Cup final to Marseille two weeks ago.
Lyon captain Cris raised the trophy and, in a sporting gesture, invited Quevilly captain Gregory Beaugrard to hold it aloft with him. Quevilly upset the odds by beating Marseille in the quarterfinals and Rennes in the semifinals.
“I am proud of my players tonight. I’m particularly pleased with how we played in the second half,” Quevilly coach Regis Brouard said. “I take my hat off to Lyon. Well done to them.”
There was hardly a bad tackle in the game, and afterwards Garde hugged Brouard and they spoke at length on the touchline.
“It was a great final played in the right spirit,” Garde said.
Lopez almost scored early on when he expertly pulled down a high pass and drilled a low shot onto the post.
Lyon then lost centre half Dejan Lovren to injury, as he went down clutching his left calf and was replaced by Bakary Kone in the 20th.
Striker Alexandre Lacazette saw his shot cleared off the line by defender Frederic Weis, but then set up Lyon’s goal.
Lacazette chased down Bafetimbi Gomis’ clever flick, skipped past goalkeeper Yassine El Kharroubi and then whipped in a cross from the right that Lopez expertly volleyed home for his 22nd goal of the season — six of those in the French Cup.
Lyon almost doubled its lead early into the second half when Lacazette’s deflected shot looped over El Kharroubi, hit the crossbar and bounced down to Lopez, whose shot was hacked away for a corner.
Gomis swept a shot wide in the 76th and substitute Jimmy Briand, who came on for Gomis, saw his late effort kept out by El Kharroubi.
Fernando Gago of AS Roma, right, competes for the ball with Blerim Dzemaili of Napoli at Stadio Olimpico on April 28, 2012 in Rome, Italy. (Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
Napoli settles for draw with Roma: Serie A
(PhatzRadio / CBC Sports) — Napoli allowed an 88th-minute equalizer in a 2-2 draw at Roma in the Serie A on Saturday, which could be a big blow in its attempt at returning to the Champions League.
Napoli moved level with Lazio for third place, which carries a spot in Champions League qualifying, but Lazio holds the tiebreaker and has a chance to move back ahead at Udinese on Sunday.
After this weekend, only three rounds remain.
On Sunday, Serie A leader Juventus looks to protect its three-point advantage over AC Milan at Novara, while the Rossoneri visit Siena.
At Stadio Olimpico, Roma dominated the first half but had trouble finding the target until Marquinho redirected a cross from Aleandro Rosi in the 41st minute.
Napoli struck back with goals from Juan Zuniga and Edinson Cavani in the 49th and 67th, both with shots from beyond the area to the top right corner.
Roma’s equalizer came from Fabio Simplicio, who then ran into the stands to kiss his wife and son.
Earlier, Catania drew 1-1 at Palermo in a Sicilian derby, and Cagliari and Chievo Verona played to 0-0.
Former Juventus defender Nicola Legrottaglie put Catania ahead in the 25th with a close-range header and Palermo captain Fabrizio Miccoli equalized in the 47th by finishing off a counterattack.
Levante’s Xavi Torres, centre, celebrates with teammates after scoring against Levante on April 28, 2012. (Jose Jordan/AFP/GettyImages)
Levante reclaims Champions League spot: La Liga
(PhatzRadio / CBC Sports) — Levante again defied the label of modest minnow by reclaiming Spain’s last Champions League spot through a 3-1 win over Granada on Saturday, while Racing Santander was relegated after losing 3-0 at Real Sociedad.
Forward Valdo Lopes set up second-half goals by Arouna Kone and Xavi Torres before heading in late to guarantee Levante’s 10th victory at Ciutat de Valencia Stadium.
Kone put Levante in front just seconds after halftime with a header off a pass by Valdo for his 15th league goal of the season.
Odion Ighalo pushed in a rebound to level for Granada in the 67th against the run of play, but Valdo laid off for Torres to volley home in the 73rd before adding a third goal in the 84th.
“The team showed that it knew how to respond after we received the tough blow of giving up the equalizer,” Torres said. “These are three important points for us to keep dreaming, another small step toward Europe.”
After an unprecedented rise to the top of the league standings to start the season, Levante — with the league’s smallest budget and an aging squad — was widely expected to fall out of contention for European competition by season end.
But with three rounds to play, Levante provisionally sits in fourth place, just three points out of third and four points clear of sixth place, which provides Spain’s last Europa League berth.
Malaga can move back ahead of Levante with a win over third-place Valencia on Sunday.
In San Sebastian, Antoine Griezmann scored twice and assisted Imanol Agirretxe to give Sociedad victory over Racing.
Racing, one of the Spanish league’s founding clubs, will celebrate its 100th anniversary in the second division next year after spending the past 10 seasons in the top flight.
“Of course we are crushed,” Racing coach Alvaro Cervera said. “But we have to try our best in the remaining three games out of respect to ourselves and this club which has so much history behind it.”
Also, relegation-threatened Sporting Gijon routed Espanyol 3-0, while Mallorca beat Getafe 3-1 as both teams stayed mid-table.
Forwards Adrian Colunga, Oscar Trejo and Mate Bilic all netted in the second half at Cornella-El Prat Stadium to earn Sporting’s first win in 11 away games.
“Whoever needs it more gets the win at the end,” said veteran Sporting manager Javier Clemente.
Villarreal, which plays Osasuna later, is clinging to safety just three points clear of Sporting.
On Sunday, Madrid can clinch its record 32nd league title if it beats Sevilla and Barcelona loses at Rayo Vallecano. Zaragoza hosts Athletic Bilbao needing a win to keep alive its chances of avoiding the drop, and Atletico Madrid visits Real Betis.