FC Nantes secured their fourth Coupe de France crown and their first major trophy since 2001 as Antoine Kombouare’s side edged out OGC Nice 1-0 at the Stade de France in Paris to celebrate a long-awaited triumph.
The first half was cagey for both sides, with few clear-cut chances of note being created as the enormity of the occasion may have affected the players on the pitch.
However, just 15 seconds into the second half, there was drama as Nantes were awarded a penalty. Nice midfielder Hicham Boudaoui was judged to have handled the ball in the box by match official Stephanie Frappart.
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Nantes striker Ludovic Blas made no mistake from the spot-kick, as the forward smashed his penalty into the top corner beyond Marcin Bulka in the Nice goal to give Les Canaris the advantage with his 14th goal of the season.
Nice then had back-to-back chances midway through the second half to level the game, as Amine Gouiri’s low shot was kept out by Nantes goalkeeper Alban Lafont with a diving save. The follow-up from Andy Delort was then cleared off the line by defender Andrei Girotto.
Les Canaris held on in the dying moments to secure another famous night in their 79-year history - as tempers flared in the dying seconds.

TALKING POINT - A famous night for Nantes

After struggles in recent years, which has seen no less than two relegations to Ligue 2 in the period between their last major success, this victory will be sweet for the Nantes fans at the Stade de France.
Les Canaris previously won this trophy in 2000, with their last Ligue 1 success coming a year later. It has been a long 21-year wait for silverware but Nantes can now call themselves four-time Coupe de France winners.
Despite their current mid-table placing in Ligue 1, this victory means that Nantes now qualify for next season's Europa League, which will be an exciting prospect given how many years it has been since they last competed on the European stage.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH - Nicolas Pallois

What a colossal display it was from the 34-year-old centre-back, who put in yet another terrific defensive performance for Nantes to ensure that his side were the ones to have their hands on a their fourth Coupe de France.
Pallois, who operated on the left of a three-man Nantes defence, was always at the right place, at the right time. This was summed up by his clearances and tackling.
It is well known that the defender was a close friend of Emiliano Sala, and there is no doubt that Pallois will be dedicating this triumph to his late former Nantes teammate.

PLAYER RATINGS

OGC Nice: Bulka 6, Dante 6, Todibo 6, Lotomba 6, Bard 6, Gouiri 7, Boudaoui 5, Thuram 6, Rosario 6, Delort 6, Dolberg 5. Subs: Brahimi 6, Lemina 6, Kluivert 6, Guessand 5.
FC Nantes: Lafont 7, Girotto 7, Castelletto 6, Pallois 8, Blas 7, Coco 6, Chirivella 6, Merlin 6, Moutoussamy 6, Simon 6, Muani 6. Subs: Fabio 6, Cyprien 6, Bukari 6.

KEY MOMENTS

29’- CLOSE! - Gouiri has a big chance for Nice, but it is blocked! The midfielder picks up the ball on the edge of the area, before going for goal with a low shot towards the bottom-right corner, but the ball takes a touch off a Nantes defender and trickles wide! Corner for Nice.
27’ - SAVE! - Merlin plays a good first-time ball from the left flank for Blas in the centre of the box, but Bulka rushes off his line to make a save with his legs and put his body on the line! Great goalkeeping.
46’ - PENALTY TO NANTES! - Within 15 seconds of the second half kicking off, Boudaoui is penalised for handling the ball in the box from Merlin's pass! Drama here!
47’ - GOAL! (Ludovic Blas penalty) - What a penalty! Nantes lead here at the Stade de France! Blas smashes his spot-kick into the roof of the net to give his side the dream start to the second half for Les Canaris!
70’ - FANTASTIC LAST-DITCH DEFENDING BY NANTES! - Gouiri causes problems in the box again, as the midfielder fires in a low shot which forces Lafont to make a diving save! Delort then opts to hit the follow-up, but Girotto is there to make a crucial goal-line clearance.

KEY STATS

  • Nantes win their first major trophy in 21 years - (Ligue 1 and Champions Trophy in 2001 were their last). This is their fourth French Cup victory in their history, after previous successes in 1979, 1999 and 2000.
  • 68% of Coupe de France finals in the 21st century have been won by a one-goal margin (15/22). 10 of these 22 finals were won by the score of 1-0 (45 %).
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