Simon Moses’ club, Nantes wins French Cup
Simon Moses’ Nantes beat Nice 1-0 in the final at the Stade de France on Saturday to win the French Cup for the first time in 22 years.
Nantes won their first major prize since winning Ligue 1 in 2001 when Ludovic Blas blasted home a penalty early in the second half.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would coach Nantes and win a trophy,” said Antoine Kombouare, an ex-Nantes player who was the first coach sacked by Paris Saint-Germain following the Qatari takeover.
“We came from nowhere. We could have finished in Ligue 2 last year. Now we’re going to play in the Europa League and the Champions Trophy, it’s hard to believe.
“It’s incredible, almost a miracle.”
Nantes won the French Cup for the fourth time and qualified for Europe for the first time in two decades after narrowly avoiding relegation in a play-off previous season.
Nice, owned by Ineos, the business chaired by Monaco-based British petrochemicals tycoon Jim Ratcliffe, looked destined to qualify for the Champions League for much of the season, but following a recent setback, they may lose out entirely.
“It’s disappointing. When you get to the final and have this magnificent trophy, you do everything to try and win it,” said Nice coach Christophe Galtier.
Following two finals played in nearly empty stadiums due to the epidemic, the Stade de France was packed to capacity with an estimated 80,000 fans, roughly two-thirds of whom were Nantes supporters.
Nice beat PSG and Marseille to reach the final for the first time since 1997, but struggled to produce chances, with Amine Gouiri and Kasper Dolberg both without a league goal since January.
In a tense first half, Nice goalkeeper Marcin Bulka, a PSG loanee who helped his parent club knock out Nice on penalties in the last 16, saved superbly as Blas sprinted into the box, with Gouiri then having a shot deflected wide.