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Third tier Red Star shoot down Lens in French Cup


Saint-Ouen (France) (AFP) – Red Star, a five-time winner of the competition now languishing in the French third tier, scored twice in the last seven minutes to spring a French Cup upset on Saturday, eliminating Ligue 1 Lens, 3-2.

“In the French Cup, everything is possible,” said Alan Dzabana who hit the 90th minute winner in the round-of-32 match.

Pape Meissa Ba gave the home team 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, fifth in Ligue 1, 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 founded 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.  

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