Lyon advance in French Cup as third-tier Red Star shoot down Lens


Paris (AFP) – Teenager Rayan Cherki scored two goals for Lyon in a 5-2 French Cup victory over Ligue 2 side Sochaux, while third-tier Red Star struck twice in the last seven minutes to eliminate top-flight Lens in the round of 32 on Saturday.

Algerian defender Djamel Benlamri headed Lyon ahead at home before Maxwel Cornet volleyed in a second to put the hosts in control.

Chris Bedia pulled a goal back for Sochaux only for 17-year-old Cherki to restore Lyon’s two-goal cushion before half-time with a crisp low finish.

Bedia’s second of the game again gave Sochaux hope but Jason Denayer nodded in from a corner and Cherki completed the victory three minutes from time.

Red Star, five-time winners of the competition, sprang an upset with the defeat of Lens, who are fifth in Ligue 1.

“In the French Cup, everything is possible,” said Alan Dzabana who hit his side’s 90th-minute winner.

Pape Meissa Ba gave Red Star a 21st-minute lead at the historic Bauer stadium in Saint Ouen in the northern Paris suburbs. 

Winger Benjamin Gomel, who came through the Lens youth system, crossed from the right and Ba controlled the ball and fired home. 

Lens took a while to adjust to the artificial surface but levelled when Facundo Medina headed in Ismael Boura’s corner at the near post in the 29th minute.

Cheick Doucoure gave the visitors the lead with a powerful shot into the roof of the net in the 49th minute.

Red Star drew encouragement from a group of around 30 supporters who gathered on a concourse outside the stadium, even though the match was being played behind closed doors, as well as the many fans leaning out of windows behind the Lens goal.

They changed their front three after 77 minutes and hit back.

“At 2-1, they settled into a comfort zone and our substitutes made the difference,” said Dzabana, one of the replacements. 

“Even at 2-1, we had our hearts set on giving it our all, not calculating the effort and working our guts out to go for this victory. And we did it.” 

Diego Michel, another sub, pounced on a rebound in the 83rd minute after Lens goalkeeper Wuilker Farinez had parried a free-kick.

In the 90th minute, Dzabana met a cross at the near post with a left-foot shot that caught Farinez flat-footed. 

Founded in 1897 by Jules Rimet, the man who created the World Cup, Red Star won the French Cup for the first time 100 years ago in 1921 with their most recent Cup triumph coming in 1942. 

In another upset Saturday, fourth-tier Le Puy beat Ligue 1 strugglers Lorient 1-0.

Lenny Joseph outpaced the visiting defence to finish off a 61st minute counter-attack and give Le Puy, who play in National 2, victory over Lorient, who are 17th in the top division.

The other Ligue 1 team in action in early matches on Saturday, Metz, won 4-0 at second-division Valenciennes.

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