For the first time in 50 years, a second-division team has won the French Cup. Guingamp defeated top-flight Rennes, their Breton rival, in the final at the Stade de France (2-1) in front of a crowd of over 80,000.
AFP - Second-division Guingamp produced one of the shocks of the season by coming from behind to beat top-flight Rennes 2-1 in the all-Breton final of the French Cup at the Stade de France here on Saturday.
Brazilian striker Eduardo Dos Santos struck a nerveless winner seven minutes from time, having earlier equalised Carlos Bocanegra's 69th-minute opener for Rennes, to give his side the first French Cup crown in their history.
The victory also erased the heartbreak of Guingamp's last French Cup final appearance, when they lost on penalties to Nice in 1997.
At a national stadium awash with the black and white flag of the Breton region, Guingamp, 13th in Ligue 2, made an encouraging start, with Rennes goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez producing fine saves to deny Eduardo and Richard Soumah.
Rennes seemed cowed by their rivals' industry but shortly before half-time Jerome Leroy served a reminder of their threat when he cracked an exquisite half-volley against the crossbar from 30 yards.
The favourites were a team reinvigorated in the early stages of the second period and Moussa Sow should have put them ahead when he thumped a shot against the crossbar after Leroy's sumptuous flick had put him clean through.
With just over 20 minutes remaining, Rennes won a free-kick wide on the right and Bruno Cheyrou's inswinging centre was headed home from close range by the unmarked Bocanegra.
Guy Lacombe's men hadn't conceded a goal in this season's competition, but that changed three minutes later when Petter Hansson inadvertently diverted the ball into the path of Eduardo, who fired across Douchez into the bottom-right corner.
The strike sparked jubilant scenes among the Guingamp fans, but even better was to come in the 83rd minute when Eduardo collected Lionel Mathis's pass before firing home an unerring strike off the base of the left-hand post.
Guingamp's triumph guarantees the club a place in the final qualifying round of next season's UEFA Europa League, the re-branded format of the UEFA Cup.
Date created : 2009-05-09