Cavani fires PSG to League Cup title
PARIS (AP) — Edinson Cavani scored twice to fire Paris Saint-Germain to a 2-1 win over Lyon in the French League Cup final on Saturday.
PSG won a record fourth League Cup, one more than Marseille and Bordeaux.
Cavani outpaced the Lyon defense to poke home a clipped pass from Maxwell in the fourth minute. The Uruguay forward doubled the lead by converting a penalty in the 33rd after goalkeeper Anthony Lopes fouled winger Lucas Moura.
Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette scored a consolation goal with a long-range strike in the 56th.
“The League Cup was an important goal for us,” Cavani said. “We wanted to end this poor run of form.”
PSG was knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea this month and lost 1-0 to Lyon in the French league a week ago.
Despite missing Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic through injury, PSG was the overwhelming favorite. The Parisian club has a 10-point lead at the top of the league with five rounds left. Lyon sits in fifth place and is fighting for a European spot.
PSG caught Lyon off guard by converting its first scoring chance when Maxwell charged down the left flank to play a one-two with Ezequiel Lavezzi. The Brazilian leftback beat Lopes to the ball to feed Cavani for the opener.
Cavani has struggled in the lone striker role since Ibrahimovic’s hamstring injury. He showed again that inconsistency on Saturday. He first beat the offside trap in the 11th to be clean through on goal but a poor touch allowed Lopes to gather the ball. Cavani then forced Lopes to make an outstanding save with a volley from 25 yards in the 14th.
Some poor decision-making from Lopes in the 31st gifted PSG a second goal. The goalie came off his line to challenge Lucas in the air for a long ball from Thiago Silva. Lopes was a split second late and brought Lucas down. Cavani scored the subsequent penalty with a powerful strike into the bottom corner.
“I told you he’s a scorer,” PSG coach Laurent Blanc said. “A scorer with his moments of doubt because of a return from injury or because of a position that does not necessarily favor him. But he’s a player who scores goals. We needed to be patient. And he gave his best answer on the pitch.”
An unmarked Cavani nearly added a third goal after a mazy run from Lucas in the 36th, but he blazed over the bar from 13 yards.
Lacazette capitalized on a counterattack to restore some hope for Lyon in the second half, skipping past rightback Christophe Jallet and unleashing a low angled drive from the edge of the box.
“We’re very disappointed,” Lyon coach Remi Garde said. “We didn’t get off to a good start. The only one thing I can blame my players for is to have conceded the first goal too quickly. That made our game plan difficult to implement.”