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PARIS — Les Herbiers’ Coupe de France fairytale ended with a 2-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the final, but the victors’ class delighted the semi-professional third-tier club.
Giovani Lo Celso and Edinson Cavani scored for PSG, and Les Herbiers coach Stephane Masala was happy that they did not hold back at the Stade de France on Tuesday.
“It is often the case that people are very humble at the highest level and the Parisien players and staff were very professional,” said Masala, who does not have the required coaching badges and incurs a €1,170 fine per match. “They were taking nothing for granted and they gave nothing up — you could see that in the way that they celebrated their goals.
“The players and staff were very open and accessible, available, and they gave my players some equipment. It was of the highest class, even if I was expecting nothing less.”
PSG captain Thiago Silva invited Les Herbiers counterpart Sebastien Flochon to lift the trophy alongside him, echoing past gestures from Lyon and Nantes towards lower-league heroes Quevilly and Calais.
— Vendée Herbiers Foot (@VHFootOfficiel) May 8, 2018
Flochon, who started his career with Lyon before being released, said that the Brazil international’s generosity touched him.
“It has not sunk in yet,” Flochon said. “It was very classy of Thiago — he did not have to do that.
“As well as being great players, they are great men.”
Les Herbiers president Michel Landreau was also delighted with the treatment his club received off the pitch, particularly from Parisien counterpart Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
“Nasser considered us as professional equals,” Landreau said. “Everybody at PSG, the players, staff and supervisors, fussed over us. I am very pleased to have met them all.”
After the trophy lift, Les Herbiers’ players were invited into PSG’s dressing room to meet the Ligue 1 champions’ players, such as Neymar, Cavani and Kylian Mbappe.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.