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Auxerre 0 Paris Saint-Germain 1: Cavani header seals historic treble

Paris Saint-Germain have become the first club in French football to claim a domestic treble after Edinson Cavani clinched a 1-0 Coupe de France final victory over second-tier Auxerre on Saturday.

Laurent Blanc’s men had already ensured a successful season after winning a Coupe de la Ligue and Ligue 1 double, but the defeat of Auxerre completes an historic clean sweep, increasing their undeniable dominance of French football.

PSG had little problem exerting control during an immensely one-sided first half, although a combination of the post and Auxerre goalkeeper Donovan Leon ensured a frustrating 45 minutes for Blanc’s side. 

Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – back in the team following a calf injury – were typically threatening, though neither could beat Leon, and Thiago Motta saw a powerful strike cannon back off the post just before the break.

The second period followed a similar pattern but Cavani did finally make the breakthrough with 64 minutes played, heading in his 31st goal of the season across all competitions.

A late PSG collapse never appeared likely as the Ligue 1 champions tightened their grip, crossing the line with minimal fuss to lift the trophy for the ninth time.

Auxerre unsurprisingly looked to soak up pressure right from the start and such a setup resulted in some frustration for PSG, who appeared to be missing the creative ingenuity of the suspended Javier Pastore.

Blanc’s side used the ball well in midfield, forcing Auxerre to work supremely hard without possession, and eventually crafted an opportunity in the 16th minute.

Cavani peeled away from his marker at the back post and met Thiago Motta’s left-footed delivery on the volley, but his scuffed effort slammed against the floor and bounced over the goal.

The Parisians’ next chance arrived 10 minutes later, but this time goalkeeper Leon was alert to the danger, rushing out to block Lucas Moura’s poked effort from point-blank range following Ibrahimovic’s knockdown. 

Leon continued to keep PSG at bay, thwarting Ibrahimovic twice in quick succession from close range just after the half-hour mark.

But he was rendered helpless in the 40th minute, as Motta’s fierce drive beat the goalkeeper only to come back off the right-hand post.

Auxerre began to offer more of an attacking threat at the start of the second half, although that only seemed to encourage PSG, who should have broken the deadlock in the 56th minute – Cavani sending a header straight at Leon from Maxwell’s pinpoint delivery.

The Uruguayan was not to be kept out eight minutes later, though.

This time, following a cross from the right, Cavani nipped ahead of his man at the last second and sent an emphatic header in off the crossbar, leaving Leon with no chance.

Auxerre’s inability to force Nicolas Douchez into any meaningful saves left PSG sensing their solitary goal was enough to claim a third Coupe de France in the last decade.

Ibrahimovic could have made the result a little more comfortable when he agonisingly failed to connect with Gregory van der Wiel’s cross in the 85th minute, but it mattered little as PSG held on to bring their dominant season to a fitting and triumphant close.

Sat 30 May, 2015
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