Martin Whiteley looks back at the weekend’s cup action as the holders cruised to a 4-0 victory over Bordeaux.
The 20th anniversary party for the Coupe de France Feminine may have been spoiled last season but it was business as usual at the weekend.
Toulouse were the first winners of the cup — originally named the Challenge de France — when they beat FC Lyon 2-1 at the Stade Leon Sausset in June 2002, however, the fortunes of the inaugural finalists have differed greatly in the intervening years. Les Violets have slipped down the divisions since their maiden cup title and on Sunday they suffered a disappointing 5-4 defeat on penalties at second-tier Yzeure Allier Auvergne after the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Whereas runners-up FC Lyon became attached to Olympique Lyonnais in 2004 and the rest, as they say, is history for the French game’s most successful club. Since the cup competition was renamed Coupe de France Feminine in 2011, it has been near perfection for nine-time champions Lyon.
The holders faced a tricky early Round of 32 draw at Bordeaux on Saturday, with their Division 1 Feminine counterparts also holding aspirations of a long cup run. But captain Wendie Renard’s deadly double saw Lyon cruise to an emphatic 4-0 win in their bid for a 10th title this season.
With lower-tier teams able to compete in the tournament this time around, the cup has returned to its usual format and handed third-tier FC Lorient a glamour tie against top-flight Paris FC, who currently sit third in the table behind leaders Lyon and second-placed PSG. But any hopes the hosts had of pulling off a giantkilling were soon obliterated by Mathilde Bourdieu in the seventh minute of the match when she scored the first of her four goals as the big guns went on to thrash the minnows 9-0.
While two-time winners PSG kept their hopes of reclaiming the cup for the first time since 2018 alive after edging Dijon 5-4 on penalties, thanks to striker Ramona Bachmann’s decisive spot-kick in what was a close top-flight battle on Sunday.
Past champions have the chance to rekindle their glory days when they’re drawn to face each other in cup competitions – and Montpellier grasped their opportunity with both hands. The visitors will hope to use Saturday’s impressive 7-2 rout of Saint-Etienne as a springboard for not only a fourth Coupe de France Feminine but an assault on the league.
The best team usually wins the league but with the randomness of a knockout competition there is always the faintest hope to all involved that this just could be the year when they get the chance to celebrate a famous cup success of their own.
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