Gueugnon make history against PSG & Giuly's Stade de France masterclass - The five best Coupe de la Ligue finals

By Sports Desk April 04, 2020

The last Coupe de la Ligue final should have been taking place on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain were scheduled to face Lyon at the Stade de France, but the coronavirus pandemic bringing almost all sport to a halt has thrown the postponed match into doubt.

It remains to be seen whether the final game in the competition's history will actually be contested, French football's governing body having voted to expunge the tournament at the end of this season.

The Coupe de la Ligue may not have the same prestige as the Coupe de France, but over the years it has delivered some memorable finals.

Here we pick out the five best showpieces.

1998 – Paris Saint-Germain 2-2 Bordeaux (4-2 on penalties)

PSG claimed the second of their eight Couple de la Ligue titles in a bona-fide thriller at the Stade de France. 

They were behind 30 minutes in when Sylvain Wiltord played in Johan Micoud to lash in the opener. However, PSG dominated thereafter and 10 minutes from time they levelled as Marco Simone fired home on the rebound after Ulrich Rame had kept out Rai's penalty.

Simone then struck the crossbar with a thunderous long-range volley, but Rai put PSG ahead in extra time with a bullet header.

The legendary Jean-Pierre Papin restored parity in the 114th minute but he was among those to miss in the shoot-out, blazing over the bar before Patrice Loko slotted in the decisive penalty.

It marked the second successive year Bordeaux had lost on spot-kicks in the final. Less than a month later, PSG made it a double with Coupe de France victory over Lens.

2000 – Gueugnon 2-0 Paris Saint-Germain

PSG suffered humiliation two years later as Gueugnon became the first and only team from outside the top division to win the trophy.

Marcelo Trapasso gave the second-tier side the lead as he reacted quickest to Nicolas Esceth-N'Zi's drive rattling the post.

Gueugnon withstood a barrage of PSG pressure but ensured a historic victory through Sylvain Flauto's individual effort.

2001 – Lyon 2-1 Monaco (aet)

A meeting between the previous season's top-flight champions and the club that would go on to dominate the decade lived up to expectations and ended in dramatic fashion.

Claudio Cacapa was the unlikely man to break the deadlock, the Brazilian defender chipping over Stephane Porato in the 35th minute. 

Shabani Nonda forced extra time as his volley squirmed past Gregory Coupet, but two minutes from the end of the second additional period substitute Patrick Muller met Sonny Anderson's left-wing cross to settle an absorbing encounter.

2003 – Monaco 4-1 Sochaux

There was no late drama for Monaco this time around as Didier Deschamps' side produced the kind of performance they dazzled Europe with en route to the Champions League final in the subsequent season.

It was Ludovic Giuly who lit up the Stade de France with a stunning display marked by two wondrous goals as Monaco netted four in the space of 21 second-half minutes.

He opened the scoring by finding the bottom-left corner with a vicious half-volley and, after Sebastien Squillaci and Dado Prso had effectively put the game beyond doubt, Giuly added gloss with an exquisite lob to cap one of the finest individual Coupe de la Ligue final performances.

2008 – Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Lens

Ten years on from their previous triumph in the competition, PSG reclaimed the trophy with the help of a dreadful late error from Lens defender Hilton.

Lens had looked the more likely to emerge victorious after Eric Carriere cancelled out Pauleta's deft lob.

However, with the game on the brink of extra time, Hilton bundled over Peguy Luyindula and Bernard Mendy's staggered run-up fooled Ronan Le Crom as he calmly converted from 12 yards to send PSG fans into delirium.

PSG were subsequently banned from the 2008-09 competition for an insulting banner unfurled by some of their supporters. The punishment was overturned on appeal, and they have since won the competition five further times under their Qatari owners.

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