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Jan 15, 2013

St Etienne book final berth

St Etienne beat Lille 7-6 on penalties to deservedly reach the Coupe de la Ligue final.

After goalkeeper Steeve Elana almost single-handedly kept Lille in the game for a goalless 120 minutes, substitute Idrissa Gueye missed the crucial penalty after a shoot-out which ran to eight kicks each.

Elana made excellent first-half saves from Yohan Mollo and Fabien Lemoine, while Brandao missed the first of many good chances on a dismal night for him personally.

At the other end, Nolan Roux's dangerous cross flashed powerfully across goal with nobody able to get a touch and St Etienne captain Loic Perrin produced an excellent tackle to deny Benoit Pedretti.

Early in the second half, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was denied at point-blank range by Elana and then by the Lille defence, while Marko Basa blocked Mollo's shot.

Brandao let another clear chance slip away when he failed to convert after good work by Lemoine. Shortly afterwards, the Brazilian was substituted and stormed straight down the tunnel.

His replacement Renaud Cohade was denied by Elana but Lille could have snatched victory late on when Dimitri Payet fired against the outside of the post.

An otherwise quiet extra time period saw another excellent Elana save, again from Cohade, before the match went to penalties.

Mollo's miss gave Lille the advantage but Florent Balmont missed their fifth penalty and, after five successful sudden-death penalties, Gueye shot over to hand St Etienne victory. The final will pair them against Rennes or Montpellier, who meet on Wednesday.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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