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Former All Black leads Lyon to Challenge Cup win over Stade

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Former All Blacks flyhalf Lima Sopoaga lead Lyon to an impressive 41-24 Challenge Cup Round of 16 match victory over Stade Français Paris at Stade Jean Bouin.

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Stade Français Paris opened the scoring with a penalty goal from Joris Segonds in the 6th minute, but Lyon quickly equalized with a penalty goal from Sopoaga in the 8th minute. However, Stade Français suffered a setback when Tavite Veredamu was shown a yellow card by referee Frank Murphy in the 19th minute. Lyon took advantage of the extra man and were awarded a penalty try, taking a 10-3 lead.

Stade Français reduced the deficit with two more penalty goals from Segonds in the 30th and 36th minutes. But just before half-time, Segonds missed a penalty goal attempt, which could have given them a 19-9 lead. Instead, Lyon fought back and scored two penalty goals of their own, with Sopoaga and Segonds exchanging kicks to make it 16-9 at half-time.

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In the second half, Lyon extended their lead with a try from Theo Dachary in the 47th minute. However, Stade Français responded immediately with a penalty try, which made it 21-16. Lyon regained the lead with a try from Baptiste Couilloud in the 56th minute, which Sopoaga converted to make it 21-23.

Segonds kicked another penalty goal in the 61st minute to put Stade Français back in front, but it was short-lived as Sopoaga kicked two more penalty goals in the 70th and 73rd minutes to give Lyon a 24-29 lead. They continued to pile on the pressure, and Guillaume Marchand scored a try in the 77th minute, with Ethan Dumortier adding another in the 79th minute. Sopoaga converted both to give Lyon a comfortable 24-41 victory.

Baptiste Couilloud was named the Player of the Match, and Lyon advanced to the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup. Stade Français, on the other hand, were eliminated from the tournament despite a valiant effort to date.

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