The last Coupe de la Ligue final should have been taking place on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain were scheduled to face Lyon at the Stade de France, but the coronavirus pandemic bringing almost all sport to a halt has thrown the postponed match into doubt.

It remains to be seen whether the final game in the competition's history will actually be contested, French football's governing body having voted to expunge the tournament at the end of this season.

The Coupe de la Ligue may not have the same prestige as the Coupe de France, but over the years it has delivered some memorable finals.

Here we pick out the five best showpieces.

1998 – Paris Saint-Germain 2-2 Bordeaux (4-2 on penalties)

PSG claimed the second of their eight Couple de la Ligue titles in a bona-fide thriller at the Stade de France. 

They were behind 30 minutes in when Sylvain Wiltord played in Johan Micoud to lash in the opener. However, PSG dominated thereafter and 10 minutes from time they levelled as Marco Simone fired home on the rebound after Ulrich Rame had kept out Rai's penalty.

Simone then struck the crossbar with a thunderous long-range volley, but Rai put PSG ahead in extra time with a bullet header.

The legendary Jean-Pierre Papin restored parity in the 114th minute but he was among those to miss in the shoot-out, blazing over the bar before Patrice Loko slotted in the decisive penalty.

It marked the second successive year Bordeaux had lost on spot-kicks in the final. Less than a month later, PSG made it a double with Coupe de France victory over Lens.

2000 – Gueugnon 2-0 Paris Saint-Germain

PSG suffered humiliation two years later as Gueugnon became the first and only team from outside the top division to win the trophy.

Marcelo Trapasso gave the second-tier side the lead as he reacted quickest to Nicolas Esceth-N'Zi's drive rattling the post.

Gueugnon withstood a barrage of PSG pressure but ensured a historic victory through Sylvain Flauto's individual effort.

2001 – Lyon 2-1 Monaco (aet)

A meeting between the previous season's top-flight champions and the club that would go on to dominate the decade lived up to expectations and ended in dramatic fashion.

Claudio Cacapa was the unlikely man to break the deadlock, the Brazilian defender chipping over Stephane Porato in the 35th minute. 

Shabani Nonda forced extra time as his volley squirmed past Gregory Coupet, but two minutes from the end of the second additional period substitute Patrick Muller met Sonny Anderson's left-wing cross to settle an absorbing encounter.

2003 – Monaco 4-1 Sochaux

There was no late drama for Monaco this time around as Didier Deschamps' side produced the kind of performance they dazzled Europe with en route to the Champions League final in the subsequent season.

It was Ludovic Giuly who lit up the Stade de France with a stunning display marked by two wondrous goals as Monaco netted four in the space of 21 second-half minutes.

He opened the scoring by finding the bottom-left corner with a vicious half-volley and, after Sebastien Squillaci and Dado Prso had effectively put the game beyond doubt, Giuly added gloss with an exquisite lob to cap one of the finest individual Coupe de la Ligue final performances.

2008 – Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Lens

Ten years on from their previous triumph in the competition, PSG reclaimed the trophy with the help of a dreadful late error from Lens defender Hilton.

Lens had looked the more likely to emerge victorious after Eric Carriere cancelled out Pauleta's deft lob.

However, with the game on the brink of extra time, Hilton bundled over Peguy Luyindula and Bernard Mendy's staggered run-up fooled Ronan Le Crom as he calmly converted from 12 yards to send PSG fans into delirium.

PSG were subsequently banned from the 2008-09 competition for an insulting banner unfurled by some of their supporters. The punishment was overturned on appeal, and they have since won the competition five further times under their Qatari owners.

Europe's top five leagues have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and there is widespread uncertainty over the future of the 2019-20 season.

Will tournaments be completed when conditions are suitable? Will things finish as they are? Will the campaign be declared null and void?

With the help of Opta, we look back over the previous 10 seasons to see who would have been crowned champions if the Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga had stopped where there are now.

 

Aguer-no!

It was an iconic moment in Premier League history. Sergio Aguero scored Manchester City's second stoppage-time goal as they came from behind to defeat QPR 3-2 and clinch their first top-flight title in 44 years, beating crestfallen arch-rivals Manchester United to the trophy on the final day of the season.

However, if the campaign had been stopped where it is now it would have been United who were celebrating due to a one-point advantage.

It is the only occasion since 2009-10 that the team on top after 29 matchdays has not won the Premier League.

 

Atleti's title wiped out

Atletico Madrid incredibly broke the Barcelona and Real Madrid duopoly in LaLiga in 2013-14, with Diego Godin salvaging a draw at Camp Nou on the final day to ensure they finished top of the pile.

However, it was local rivals Real Madrid, led by Carlo Ancelotti, who sat three points clear after 27 games of the season, meaning Diego Simeone's crowning achievement would not have occurred.

The only other instance of a team being displaced in the final 11 matches came in 2009-10, when Madrid sat ahead of Barca on goal difference but ended up seeing Pep Guardiola's men go on to win LaLiga for a second straight season.

 

Juventus dominance broken up

Eight straight Serie A titles have seen Juventus create history in Italy, but they would have only managed five if the previous seasons stopped after 26 games – the total the majority of clubs have completed in 2019-20.

The Bianconeri went undefeated under Antonio Conte in 2011-12, although it was Milan who topped the table at this point in the campaign, meaning Massimiliano Allegri would have won successive Scudetti at San Siro.

Maurizio Sarri would also not have had to have waited until winning the Europa League with Chelsea last year for his first major title.

Sarri's Napoli only surrendered top spot to Juve on matchday 27 in 2017-18 and they failed to recover it, missing out on their best chance to finish top since the Diego Maradona era.

 

QSI off to the perfect start

The landscape of Ligue 1 changed dramatically when Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) bought Paris Saint-Germain in June 2011, although no silverware was added to the Parc des Princes trophy cabinet in the first season following the takeover.

However, they would have been crowned champions had the 2011-12 season finished after 28 games, denying a Montpellier side powered by the goals of Olivier Giroud an unlikely first Ligue 1 title.

There would have been bad news for PSG in 2014-15, though, as the trophy would have gone to Hubert Fournier's Lyon due to a one-point margin.

Bordeaux would have made it back-to-back titles in 2009-10, too, with Marseille having made the most of a collapse that saw Laurent Blanc's side slip from first to sixth over the final 10 matches.

 

Bundesliga business as usual

What changes with the Bundesliga title winners if you stop the previous 10 seasons after 25 games? Nothing.

Bayern Munich would have won eight championships to Borussia Dortmund's two.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar was exempt from blame for his sending off in a 4-3 win over Bordeaux on Sunday after head coach Thomas Tuchel refused to criticise a reckless tackle.

Brazil international Neymar was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Bordeaux's Yacine Adli in added time of the Ligue 1 clash at the Parc des Princes.

The 28-year-old had an angry exchange with referee Willy Delajod and then appeared to sarcastically applaud the officials as he left the pitch.

However, Tuchel believed Neymar's reaction was a natural one given he felt the PSG player had been fouled beforehand by Bordeaux's Youssouf Sabaly.

Neymar is now set to miss PSG's next Ligue 1 fixture at home to Dijon on Saturday.

"We have to talk about the whole situation," Tuchel said of Neymar's challenge in his post-match media conference.

"He is nervous and he reacts. It is human. He must not, but it is human. And the Bordeaux player does not even get a yellow card."

PSG secured the points after a chaotic win thanks to two goals from Marquinhos and one apiece for Edinson Cavani – his 200th in all competitions for the club – and Kylian Mbappe.

It helped PSG increase their lead to 13 points over second-placed Marseille at the top of Ligue 1.

And Tuchel acknowledged the win helped boost morale as they produced a positive reaction to a 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie.

"The victory is the most important thing now because there are things to improve, it is clear," added the German coach.

"The players lack a little confidence after a defeat. It's like that. We can see that a lot of teams in Europe after a defeat it's always a little difficult to regain spirit and confidence."

Brazilian defender Marquinhos feels PSG must work hard to improve their defensive performances after leaking seven goals in their past two Ligue 1 games.

"On the one hand we are really very strong offensively, but on the other we concede a lot of goals," he told Canal+.

"As defenders we really have to think about what we can do best. In this match it was mainly on set-pieces. We really have to work better collectively."

Edinson Cavani reflected on a "special moment" after scoring his 200th goal for Paris Saint-Germain in Sunday's Ligue 1 win over Bordeaux.

Cavani - PSG's all-time leading scorer - netted his side's first in a thrilling 4-3 victory, bringing up his personal milestone in the 25th minute at the Parc des Princes.

The Uruguayan forward was linked with a move away in January, while his contract expires with the French club at the end of the season.

PSG held a presentation for Cavani, who has seven goals this season, after the game and the 33-year-old was "a little emotional".

"It's the team-mates who give you the goals," Cavani told Canal+.

"It's a very special moment after a difficult month in January, but I'm here to give my best and try to have a great season with the team.

"But I'm like that, a little emotional. I looked at my family who is there, always behind me, pushing me, giving me love.

"In the end, that's what makes you move on. It gives me a lot of emotion and that's why I'm a little like that.

"We have to push again and I hope to continue to make beautiful things here."

Defender Marquinhos scored a brace for PSG and Kylian Mbappe also found the net, though the hosts had Neymar sent off in additional time.

PSG are 13 points clear of nearest rivals Marseille in the Ligue 1 table.

Neymar saw red as Paris Saint-Germain moved 13 points clear at top of Ligue 1 after Edinson Cavani's 200th goal for the club helped them to a 4-3 win over Bordeaux on Sunday.

Hwang Ui-jo gave Bordeaux a surprise lead before Cavani equalised for PSG with his landmark strike at the Parc des Princes.

The hosts went ahead when Marquinhos chested the ball home but Bordeaux levelled through Pablo following a mistake by PSG goalkeeper Sergio Rico.

Marquinhos and Kylian Mbappe both finished clinically to put Thomas Tuchel's side in command, although Ruben Pardo reduced the deficit to set up a tense finish and Neymar was dismissed for a second booking late on.

 

Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani scored his 200th goal for the club in all competitions during their Ligue 1 clash with Bordeaux on Sunday.

The Uruguay international, who celebrated his 33rd birthday this month, equalised for PSG with a powerful header from Angel Di Maria's curling cross.

It was Cavani's seventh goal of the campaign for PSG having found himself in and out of the starting line-up under head coach Thomas Tuchel.

Cavani joined PSG from Italian side Napoli in July 2013 and is set to become a free agent at the end of the season.

He became PSG's all-time top goalscorer in January 2018 when he surpassed the record of 156 held by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Thomas Tuchel admitted he was "very surprised" by leaked footage that showed Paris Saint-Germain's players partying into the early hours of the morning this week.

A number of PSG's first-team stars attended a lavish joint-birthday party for Edinson Cavani, Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria in Paris on Thursday.

The extravagant bash was held two days after the French champions' 2-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Footage on social media showed some players, including forward Neymar, topless and bouncing around the room.

And with a Ligue 1 clash against Bordeaux to come on Sunday, Tuchel has questioned the actions of his players.

"I was really surprised yesterday afternoon when watching the video," he said at Saturday's pre-match news conference. 

"You can be sure that we talked internally. I don't want to talk about it now, but we talked about it within the club and it has to stay that way."

He added: "You can be sure that we are not happy with this image. We talked together as a team and it is now an internal matter.

"I am here to improve my group. I cannot give advice to the club, that is not my role."

Marquinhos was in attendance at the exclusive Pavillon Dauphine and defended the decision to throw the triple birthday party.

"The leaked footage was a mistake," he told reporters. "However, it had been planned for a long time. We needed to get together. 

"We must be careful, though, as there are people who travel miles to follow us.

"There has been frustration at the result and poor performance [against Dortmund]. We know our strengths, especially at home.We must work hard and with a good mentality."

Neymar suggested after the loss to Dortmund that he has been unhappy with PSG's management of his rib injury, insisting he was ready to return to action earlier.

However, Tuchel has reiterated that he cannot risk the Brazil international's fitness at a key point in the season.

"As I said before, it was a discussion between the club, medical staff and myself. With each injury we have to make many decisions, that's the way it is," he said.

"Imagine if we let him play, the injury got worse and he was out for three months. You would have asked the same questions, whether it was a mistake to play him.

"We have to think about why we are making these decisions and you have to trust me. We have talked a lot and it is the same with every player.

"Obviously I want him to play every game and we have to make decisions together. This is the decision we made between us. Now he needs to regain his rhythm."

Tuchel also confirmed Thomas Meunier and Colin Dagba are out of Sunday's clash with Bordeaux at the Parc des Princes, where he is hoping for a quick response from his side.

"It is never easy to start again after a defeat, but that is the challenge," he said. "I have the impression that all the players want to prove themselves.

"Sometimes the players are more competitive when things aren't comfortable. That is exactly the mindset we are looking for."

Nantes have revealed a one-off Argentina-inspired kit they will wear in Sunday's Ligue 1 meeting with Bordeaux in memory of former striker Emiliano Sala.

Sala, along with pilot David Ibbotson, went missing on January 21 last year when their plane crashed over the English Channel a few days after his move to Cardiff City from Nantes had been confirmed.

The body of Argentina native Sala was later discovered and a report released by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) in August said he had clearly been exposed to the poisonous gas carbon monoxide. Ibbotson has not been found.

Nantes marked the anniversary of the incident by confirming the creation of a special strip in tribute to their former striker, with the kit set to be worn on Sunday against Bordeaux, Sala's first club in France.

Combattant et généreux, tu rêvais et méritais le maillot de l'Albiceleste. L’intégralité des bénéfices liés aux ventes de ce maillot sera allouée aux deux clubs formateurs argentins d’Emiliano.

 https://t.co/J9oVerGK5p pic.twitter.com/EMgEhTWTSe

— FC Nantes (@FCNantes) January 21, 2020

Profits from the jerseys will be donated to the two Argentinian clubs Sala played for as a child, Nantes said.

A statement read: "Because he dreamed of wearing the jersey of the Argentina national team, the players of Nantes will give up their traditional yellow and green jersey for a blue and white kit.

"This jersey, from which the entire sales profits will be allocated to the two Argentinian training clubs of Emiliano, is a way of paying homage to him."

Nantes also announced several other tributes to Sala will take place on Sunday, including a minute's applause and a "giant tifo".

Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and now Donny van de Beek?

Ajax lost stars De Jong and De Ligt in the off-season and Van de Beek is now reportedly nearing an Amsterdam exit.

It may be the case that the midfielder can choose between the two Spanish powerhouse clubs.

 

TOP STORY –  BARCA & MADRID WANT VAN DE BEEK

LaLiga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are battling to sign Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek, according to reports.

Van de Beek was heavily linked to Madrid as an alternative to Manchester United star Paul Pogba during the previous transfer window.

Now, Sport claims Van de Beek could be available for between €50-60million.

 

ROUND-UP

Bayer Leverkusen are poised to sign River Plate's Exequiel Palacios, says Kicker. Palacios – previously tipped to join Madrid – is set to move to Bundesliga outfit Leverkusen in January in a €22m deal.

- Mundo Deportivo and Calciomercarto claim Barca and Milan have met to discuss the future of defender Jean-Clair Todibo. LaLiga champions Barca are reportedly happy to part with the 19-year-old.

- According to 90min, Liverpool are set to beat Manchester City and Chelsea to Coventry City left-back Sam McCallum.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has walked away from negotiations with Milan, reports Calciomercato. A free agent after leaving LA Galaxy, Ibrahimovic has been linked with a return to Milan, as well as Napoli. But the 38-year-old is reportedly not moving back to San Siro after failing to reach an agreement.

- Valencia teenager Ferran Torres is high on the agenda of Madrid, according to AS. The 19-year-old is attracting interest from across Europe, including Liverpool and Juventus.

- Keen to provide competition for Tammy Abraham, 90min says Chelsea are considering a January bid for Bordeaux forward Josh Maja.

Arsenal have identified Bordeaux coach Paulo Sousa as a potential successor to Unai Emery, a source close to the Portuguese tactician has claimed.

Following an underwhelming start to the season, Emery was dismissed by Arsenal in late November, with Freddie Ljungberg taking over in an interim capacity.

Although Ljungberg guided Arsenal to a 3-1 win at West Ham on Monday, the Swede is not thought to be in contention for the job on a full-time basis.

Patrick Vieira, Marcelino Garcia Toral, Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta have all been linked with the vacancy at the Premier League club.

But Sousa, who has taken Bordeaux to fifth in the Ligue 1 table this season, is also attracting interest, according to his entourage.

They told L'Equipe: "They like his profile as a coach but also as a person – we've been blown away.

"That doesn't mean he'll leave. They've targeted several candidates, but Paulo is one of them, certainly. Between the two [Arsenal and Sousa], it could be a match.

"With all the problems at Bordeaux, why wouldn't he leave? The project is not what he was promised, that's a fact.

"He loves the fans, but he needs more from the board - this team is not strong enough to finish in the top six."

Sousa is no stranger to English football having already coached QPR, Swansea City and Leicester City, while he has also had spells in charge of Basel, Fiorentina and Tianjin Quanjian in China.

Despite apparently having a desire to talk with Sousa, Bordeaux's head of recruitment Eduardo Macia insists the Gunners have not been in touch with the club.

"It would be normal that he arouses interest, but we have not been contacted," Macia told L'Equipe.

Bordeaux president Frederic Longuepee has vowed to stay in his post and condemned the "unacceptable" disruption of Tuesday's Ligue 1 match against Nimes by angry supporters.

The fixture was halted for more than 25 minutes after a group of home fans stormed the field at the Matmut Atlantique stadium.

Bordeaux's ultras stepped up their protests against the club's American-based ownership group King Street, whose motivations they have questioned, by entering the pitch after 10 minutes.

The delay continued after the supporters left the playing area and waited behind the goal, insisting on the return of their confiscated banners calling out the owners, president Longuepee and director of commercial strategy Antony Thiodet.

A group of fans brought back a banner to cheers and strung it up along one end of the ground. It read: "Against King Street and their two puppets Longuepee and Thiodet."

The match then resumed and Bordeaux, who sit third in Ligue 1 despite such off-field turbulence, moved into a 2-0 lead through a Josh Maja brace before half-time.

They eventually won the match 6-0, with Maja completing a hat-trick.

Longuepee said afterwards, according to L'Equipe: "This is a sad situation for the club. It's unacceptable and it is not at all the image that we want to give of football in Bordeaux and across France.

"It is all the more distressing taking into account the repeated calls for dialogue that we have proposed to the ultras.

"As you know, King Street is the majority shareholder in the club, committed to the Girondins [Bordeaux] for a long time.

"I would like to confirm to everyone that I will not resign. Bordeaux is an exciting club with ambitions and values that I will defend for a long time."

Reports in France have claimed King Street could seek to sell several of Bordeaux's players in the January transfer window, to recoup money invested, should it buy out fellow US-based shareholder GACP.

Bordeaux's Ligue 1 match against Nimes on Tuesday was halted for more than 25 minutes after a group of home fans stormed the field at the Matmut Atlantique stadium.

Bordeaux's ultras stepped up their protests against the club's American-based ownership group King Street by entering the pitch after 10 minutes.

The delay continued after the supporters left the playing area and waited behind the goal, insisting on the return of their confiscated banners calling out the owners, president Frederic Longuepee and director of commercial strategy Antony Thiodet.

A group of fans brought back a banner to cheers and strung it up along one end of the ground. It read: "Against King Street and their two puppets Longuepee and Thiodet."

The match then resumed and Bordeaux, who sit third in Ligue 1 despite such off-field turbulence, moved into a 2-0 lead through a Josh Maja brace before half-time.

Neymar played down his fractured relationship with Paris Saint-Germain's fans, insisting "it is like with women, sometimes you argue and spend some time without talking".

PSG superstar Neymar has enjoyed a stunning return to the team since his failed return to Barcelona, scoring three goals in four matches.

Neymar's desire to re-join Barca sparked a rift with PSG's fans, who insulted and displayed banners during the Brazilian's comeback against Strasbourg on September 14.

But Neymar has not been affected, scoring the winner in Saturday's 1-0 Ligue 1 victory at Bordeaux and he dismissed the rocky relationship with PSG's supporters.

"It is like with women. Sometimes you argue and spend some time without talking," Neymar told reporters post-match.

"However, with love and affection, you go back to normal. I am here to help PSG and I will give my life on the pitch."

Neymar added to beIN SPORTS: "I'm very happy! I love helping the team, whether it be goals or assists! I'm here for that, and I have every intention of doing that.

"I'm happy when I make the breakthrough in such tight and difficult games. Kylian Mbappe? He returned with his smile, his good mood...and his football!"

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe combined for the 70th-minute winner as PSG bounced back from their shock 2-0 defeat at home to Reims on Wednesday.

"We won this evening by getting back our good feelings in our understanding with each other, linking up, and with quick attacks! It augurs well," Mbappe said.

"My absence? It was long, difficult too. When the team loses, you want to come back as soon as possible, but you can't be hasty. It wasn't easy, but it's over!"

On the relationship between Neymar and Mbappe, PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel said: "They have qualities. They like to be together, their personalities go well together. 

"We can feel it, observe it on the field but it should not be too obvious because you have to keep a balance with other players, they must seek others. We always have to make the best decision for the team, to win, to create opportunities. We played like that today."

Titleholders PSG are two points clear atop the Ligue 1 table ahead of Tuesday's Champions League trip to Turkish giants Galatasaray.

"We played well at the end of the game but forgot to score! We created a lot of chances, but the match was close to the end," Tuchel continued. "It's the only negative point, because I'm really very happy with our performance. The team's display was really excellent, with and without the ball. It was a great performance. I'm very happy."

Kylian Mbappe marked his return from injury by teeing up Neymar for the only goal of the game as Paris Saint-Germain got back to winning ways in Ligue 1 with a 1-0 triumph at Bordeaux.

Mbappe had not featured since August 25 because of a muscle problem but came off the bench in the second half to make a telling impact for the defending champions.

The France forward was introduced on the hour mark and 10 minutes later he laid on a close-range winner for Neymar.

Victory for Thomas Tuchel's men sees them go two points clear at the top of the table, though surprise package Angers can go back level with them at the summit by beating Amiens.

Pablo Sarabia saw a goal ruled out for offside in the ninth minute, and a frustrating first half for the visitors - beaten at home by Reims in midweek - featured a booking for coach Tuchel after he expressed his disdain at a free-kick given to Bordeaux.

His side dominated throughout and Thomas Meunier dragged an effort wide before Angel Di Maria and Neymar were each denied by Benoit Costil in quick succession.

Neymar then headed wide after more good work down the right from Meunier, with PSG's profligacy forcing Tuchel's hand as Mbappe was summoned to join the action.

He wasted an early opportunity by shooting straight at Costil before Neymar sent another header off target at the far post with the goal at his mercy.

PSG's persistence was finally rewarded, however, when Bordeaux lost the ball in their own half and Mbappe broke free down the right, firing a low cross in for Neymar to tuck into the bottom-left corner.

Mbappe's cameo was arguably worthy of a goal but Costil kept his team in it with another fine save after a break from the World Cup winner, who blasted over the bar shortly after on a day when PSG should have won by a much more convincing margin.

There was controversy late on, though, as Bordeaux had an appeal for a penalty rejected by VAR despite Idrissa Gueye appearing to make contact with Loris Benito, but a point for the hosts would have been scarcely deserved.

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