FC Sochaux Montbéliard lifted the French League Cup after a penalty shoot-out victory over FC Nantes Atlantique on Saturday night, to secure their passage into Europe next season.
Sochaux, losing finalists in last season's League Cup, were unbeaten in six UEFA Cup matches this season - they defeated Myllykosken Pallo-47 and BV Borussia Dortmund over two legs before being eliminated by FC Internazionale on the away-goals rule after two draws - and will now have another chance shine on the European stage following their defeat of Nantes.
Return to UEFA Cup
Sochaux, fourth in the Ligue 1 table, could still qualify for the UEFA Champions League but know now that they are at least assured of a return to the UEFA Cup after coming through 5-4 winners on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
Nantes took an early lead through Grégory Pujol but saw it cancelled out by Sylvain Monsoreau's 18th-minute leveller, taking the League Cup final to extra time and penalties for the first time since PSG's 1998 spot-kick triumph.
The sides were still tied after five penalties each, then Mickaël Landreau had a chance to win the match for Nantes after Maxence Flachez had scooped Sochaux's second sudden-death penalty over the crossbar, but he saw his spot-kick saved by Teddy Richert.
Lacombe's first trophy
Benoît Pedretti duly put the pressure on Pascal Delhommeau by converting the 15th penalty - and Richert's subsequent save, his fourth from eight Nantes spot-kicks, secured Guy Lacombe his first trophy as a coach and Sochaux's first major trophy since 1938.
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