PARIS: Saint-Etienne, a European power in the mid-1970s when Michel Platini was a leader out on the pitch, won their first trophy in more than 30 years when they beat Rennes 1-0 in the French League Cup final.

France and England are the only European nations in which a league cup adds to fixtures pressures on clubs and players.

Brazilian forward Brandao – who had scored an extra-time winner in last year’s final for Marseille – struck early on this time as Les Verts secured a first major trophy in more than 30 years.

Brandao, who converted a cross from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the Stade de France, has won four successive League Cup Finals after his previous successes with Marseille.

Play-offs place

That earned Saint-Etienne their first trophy silverware since the last of their then record 10 French league crowns in 1981. That was Michel Platini’s last season with the club before the current UEFA president transferred to Italy with Juventus.

Victory was worth a place in next season’s Europa League playoffs.

Rennes, who lost the French Cup final to second-tier Guingamp in 2009, have not won a trophy for 42 years.

Brandao, who was named man of the match, said: “The whole squad made it. I’m very happy for the team, for all the fans. It was very important for us all. When I sign for a club it’s always because I want to win trophies.”

Coach Christophe Galtier said: “Obviously this is a collective achievement but Brandao is a real leader.”

Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti said: “I must congratulate my boys because they fought as hard as they could. They gave everything they had.”

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