PSG beat Lyon to clinch French Cup in Mbappe’s farewell appearance – Sport

LILLE: Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe lifts the Coupe de France trophy as he celebrates with team-mates after the final against Olympique Lyonnais at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.—Reuters

VILLENEUVE D’ASCQ: Paris St-Germain beat Olympique Lyonnais 2-1 in the French Cup final on Saturday courtesy of first-half strikes from Ousmane Dembele and Fabian Ruiz to end the season with a domestic treble in Kylian Mbappe’s farewell match.

The Ligue 1 and French Super Cup champions dominated the first half at Lille’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy to secure their record-extending 15th Cup title and first since 2021.

“We played the final very well. We played with great intensity and were great on the ball,” said Luis Enrique. “I think we have had a very good season. We would have liked to stay around for another week and not go on holiday yet but that is life,” he said, referring to next weekend’s Champions League final.

“Nobody said football was fair, but it doesn’t matter. Next season we will come back stronger and will look to sign even hungrier players, who have even more desire to win.”

Of the departing Mbappe he added: “I think I have been lucky to coach Kylian but it has been a difficult season for him because after seven years and all he has achieved it is always hard to say goodbye.

“But he was always prepared to help the team and tonight was the cherry on the cake even if he didn’t score.”

The game was somewhat overshadowed by incidents earlier in the day, with rival fans clashing at a motorway toll around 50 kilometres south of the northern city of Lille.

The clashes involved about 100 Lyon supporters and about 200 PSG fans, with two coaches ending up on fire, according to a police source.

A source in the regional police authorities said 20 supporters were slightly injured, with French President Emmanuel Macron, who attended the final, condemning the violence.

Dembele put PSG ahead after 23 minutes when Nuno Mendes’ cross found him unmarked in the six-yard box to coolly head home and Ruiz doubled the advantage with a strike from a tight angle at the second attempt.

Lyon pulled one back 10 minutes into the second half thanks to Jake O’Brien’s towering header off a corner before PSG keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma produced a superb save minutes later.

PSG’s all-time top scorer Mbappe failed to find the net in his final game for the club, leaving his record at 256 goals in 308 appearances over his seven-year spell.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the last few years. Saying that it’s all over, it makes my heart ache a little. What I’ve had here, I’ll never find anywhere else,” the 25-year-old Mbappe said.

“It’s been a wonderful evening and a wonderful season. I hope that children will continue to watch PSG. We’ve tried to get people excited, to give young people the chance to play for PSG. I hope that more youngsters will want to make their mark here.”

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2024

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