Alain Perrin insisted that FC Sochaux-Montbéliard "never stopped believing" after coming from behind twice before winning the French Cup on penalties.
Goalkeeper Teddy Richert proved to be the hero for Sochaux, saving the 12th spot-kick of the shoot-out from Olympique de Marseille's Ronald Zubar to give his side a 5-4 triumph, following a 2-2 draw at the Stade de France on Saturday. Djibril Cissé had twice given Marseille the lead - in normal time and extra-time - but Moumouni Dagano and Anthony Le Tallec hit back for Sochaux.
"We had no reason to give up as long as we had the ball at our feet and were creating chances," said former Marseille coach Perrin as he celebrated Sochaux's first French Cup triumph since 1937. "Coming back twice was an achievement, but we never stopped believing it was possible. As usual, penalties were a lottery where the only predictible thing is that there will be winners and losers."
Victory gave Sochaux a place in the first round of next season's UEFA Cup, and afforded Richert a place in club folklore. Captain Mickaël Isabey, who watched from the stands after missing out on a place in the final squad, said: "I just say thank you to Teddy." The goalkeeper added modestly: "I was only able to make those saves because my team-mates equalised twice."
Back at home, there were street parties in Sochaux, but the 50,000 fans gathered at Marseille's Stade Vélodrome were in no mood for celebration, having also watched their side beaten by Paris Saint-Germain FC in last season's cup final. "The disappointment is so big that whatever I say now will comfort no-one," said coach Albert Emon. "All I can say is that my players did their utmost."
Marseille have not won a title on home soil since 1992 but they could yet have something to celebrate if they can hang on for a top-three finish in Ligue 1 and a UEFA Champions League slot. They are currently second in Ligue 1, two points clear of RC Lens and FC Girondins de Bordeaux with two games left until the end of the season.
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