Should they drop into second division, Paris Saint Germain will still play the UEFA Cup next season, after a controversial penalty in injury time helped them defeat Lens 2-1 in the final of the 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 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 79,000-strong crowd.
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.
Date created : 2008-03-29