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Jan 16, 2007

Bordeaux end League Cup dreams of Reims

REIMS, France, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Girondins Bordeaux survived a late red card to reach the French League Cup final with a 2-1 win over once-great Stade Reims on Tuesday.

Florian Marange opened the scoring in the 59th minute with a kick which rebounded twice in the penalty area before hitting the net. Jean-Claude Darcheville grabbed Bordeaux's second when he converted a penalty in the 75th.

The goals ended Reims' dream of glory more than 40 years after they played and lost 4-3 to Real Madrid in the first European Cup final in 1956.

However, in front of a 9,000 crowd of their Auguste Delaune stadium, which hosted the feats of Raymond Kopa, Just Fontaine and Roger Piantoni, the unsung players of the new Stade Reims, now in Ligue 2, put Bordeaux under pressure from the start.

In the first half, the best scoring opportunity fell their way when former France goalkeeper Ulrich Rame had to dive full-length to palm off a 20-metre kick from Siaka Tiene.

Reims, who reached the last four through wins over Ligue 1 clubs Monaco and Stade Rennes, pushed hard at the end of the game and made it 2-1 through a David Jemmali own goal three minutes from time.

In a desperate finish, Bordeaux's David Jurietti was shown a a straight red card in injury time.

Olympique Lyon or Le Mans, who meet in Wednesday in Lyon, will be Bordeaux's opponents in the final on March 31 at the Stade de France.

'With all due respect to Le Mans, I hope Lyon will win. It would be a beautiful final,' Darcheville said.

The winners qualify for the UEFA Cup.