Football: Injury-time penalty gives PSG French League Cup
A penalty in the third minute of injury time by Bernard Mendy earned Paris Saint Germain a 2-1 victory over Lens.
PARIS, March 31, 2008 (AFP) - A penalty in the third minute of injury time
by Bernard Mendy earned Paris Saint Germain a 2-1 victory over Lens in the
final of the French League Cup on Saturday.
The match at a packed Stade de France looked to be heading for extra-time
after an Eric Carriere equaliser in the second half cancelled out Pedro
Pauleta's early opener for PSG.
But referee Laurent Duhamel pointed to the spot in the dying seconds and
Mendy sidefooted the ball home gently to the left of Lens keeper Ronan Le Crom to spark off a night of celebrations for the Parisians amongst the
Far from a nervy affair, the match was played at pace with both sides
prepared to go forward with enterprising moves till the final 20 minutes when
things petered out as a spectacle.
PSG lie in the relegation zone of the French league and coach Paul Le Guen
would have been relieved to hear the final whistle knowing the club's
fanatical supporters, and demanding board, had a trophy plus UEFA Cup
qualification to divert attention from their poor league form.
In the 18th minute, PSG were ahead.
Portuguese striker Pauleta looked up to see Le Crom off his line and
delivered a cheeky chip which found the net with the aid of the bottom of the
keeper's left hand post.
To have scored in and won a cup final with PSG must have been a major plus
for 34-year-old Pauleta, playing in his fifth and final season with the club.
He had been out injured with a left thigh injury for two weeks but he came
back to score a superb goal which put PSG on their way.
Shortly after the break however, PSG's lead had gone.
A veteran, like Pauleta, 35-year-old Eric Carriere got on the scoresheet in
the 52nd minute.
After good work by Toifilou Maoulida on the right, Carriere fired home from
an angle on the right with the side of his foot with the help of keeper
Mickael Landreau's right hand post.
It was a cruel blow for Lens when the penalty decision was made in the
third minute of injury time.
Substitute Peguy Luyindula was adjudged to have been brought down by Lens's Brazilian captain Hilton in the box and Mendy stepped up to make no mistake with the spotkick.
PSG thereby won a record third title after wins in both 1995 and 1998.