Coupe de la Ligue Final Preview

Olympique Lyonnais take on Paris Saint-Germain this Friday evening the final of the French Coupe de la Ligue (League Cup). It will be Lyon’s first competitive match since the resumption of football following the Covid-19 pandemic lock down and the second outing for PSG, the latter having beaten Saint-Étienne 1-0 in last Friday’s Coupe de France final.

It is set to be the last ever Coupe de la Ligue final, with the LFP (Ligue de Football Professionnel) having voted to discontinue the competition last September to lighten the French football calendar. Lyon are hoping to win it for just the second time, having previously done so in 2001, and PSG are going for their ninth victory.

Road to the Final

Both clubs entered in the fourth round, the round of sixteen. Lyon began with a comfortable 4-1 win at home to Toulouse, followed by a 3-1 victory over Brest at home in the quarter finals and a penalty shoot-out win against Lille in the semis following a 2-2 draw, again at home. PSG had three comfortable victories during their passage to the final, also beginning with a 4-1 win in the round of sixteen, away at Le Mans. They crushed Saint-Étienne 6-1 at home in the quarter finals and won 3-0 away at Reims in the semis.

Head-to-Head this Season

The two clubs have already met three times during the aborted 2019-20 season, with coming out victors on each occasion. The first League encounter at the Groupama Stadium back in September finished 1-0 during Sylvinho’s ill-fated spell in charge of OL. The return match in Paris in February produced a more emphatic 4-2 win for the Parisians and the third meeting, in the Coupe de France semi-finals in March resulted in a 5-1 thrashing for Lyon at the Groupama Stadium in their penultimate match before the lock down, so the recent form book doesn’t look promising for OL.

Team News

The coronavirus lock down has given a couple of Lyon’s long-term injured players an unexpected chance to recover and feature in this final. Star player Memphis Depay and midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide both tore cruciate ligaments in the first half of the season and were initially ruled out for the rest of the campaign, but the postponement of this fixture has allowed them to regain full fitness and and reintegrate the squad, so Lyon go into the match at more or less full strength.

Paris Saint-Germain, however, suffered an injury blow in the Coupe de France final last week when striker Kylian Mbappé was the victim of a horror tackle by Saint-Étienne’s Loic Perrin and suffered a sprained ankle. He will definitely miss this final as a consequence.

Warm-Up Matches

Olympique Lyonnais began their preparations for the resumption of competitive football on the first of July, almost four months since their last outing. They have played a series of six friendly matches starting with a 12-0 victory against Swiss amateur club US Port Valais at the Stade Camille in Evian-les-Bains. They followed that with three sterner tests at the Groupama Stadium against Nice, Rangers and Celtic, beating Nice and Celtic 1-0 and 2-0 respectively but suffering a 2-0 reverse in between against Rangers. Lyon then rounded off their preparations with a mini tour of Belgium and a pair of 3-2 wins against Gent and Royal Antwerp on the 22nd and 24th of July.

Paris Saint-Germain have also had some friendly matches to help them regain match fitness before they resume their campaign. They cruised to a 9-0 win against Le Havre, beat Waasland-Beveren 7-0 and Celtic 4-0 before their 1-0 Coupe de France final win over Saint-Étienne, so they’re looking sharp up front and mean at the back following the enforced break.

Coupe de la Ligue Final Details

The match will kick off at 20:10 UK time on Friday the 31st of July 2020 at the Stade de France in Paris and will be shown by BT Sport on UK television. Due to social distancing measures, there will be a maximum of 5,000 people allowed inside the stadium.