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Garcia rues cup exit on penalties

Lille head coach Rudi Garcia felt his side were hard done by as they bowed out of the Coupe de La Ligue to Saint-Etienne on penalties.

Tony Rodelin missed a late chance for Lille as Saint-Etienne made their first cup final in more than 30 years following Florent Balmont’s missed penalty on Tuesday.

“It is cruel when we miss out on a final at the Stade de France on penalties. It is really cruel. After that, it’s part of the competition,” Garcia said.

“We had to win on penalties. We suffered in the second half, because we lacked freshness due to having one less recovery day.

“But we did well in extra time, we had the best opportunities at the end of the second period with the Tony Rodelin chance for example.”

But Garcia paid tribute to Saint-Etienne despite losing key attackers Salomon Kalou and Ryan Mendes to Africa Cup of Nations duty.

“After that, I haven’t forgotten that Saint-Etienne had many chances too. It was a semi-final that swung from one side to the other,” he said.

“We didn’t do well offensively, but we know that it is our weak point, especially since the departure of Salomon Kalou and Ryan Mendes.

“That’s the reason why we started with four midfielders. But we were good in defence. We were close to victory, but Saint-Etienne won, so good luck to them for the final.”

Wed 16 January, 2013
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