Lens beats Lorient to reach French Cup quarterfinals

LORIENT, France -- — Facundo Medina converted the final spot kick to send Lens to the French Cup quarterfinals in a 4-2 penalty shootout win over Lorient after the teams were tied 1-1 in regulation time Thursday.

The visitors took the lead in the 21st minute when Angelo Fulgini tapped home after goalkeeper Vito Mannone had palmed a cross from Ismael Boura into the path of the Lens midfielder.

Lorient midfielder Enzo Le Fee leveled the round-of-16 game with a dipping free kick in the 84th to force a penalty shootout.

All the Lens players converted their spot kicks while Le Fee hit the bar before Ibrahima Kone had his penalty saved by goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca.

“We’re not going to hide, it’s an objective to go and win the Cup,” Leca told BeIN Sports television. “We tinkered a bit. But in spite of that, I think we still had a good game.”

Lens has been runner-up three times but has never won the French Cup. The team will visit Cup holder Nantes next month in the only quarterfinal game between two top-tier teams.

In the other quarterfinal games, Marseille will host Annecy, Grenoble will visit Lyon, and Toulouse will face Rodez.

Sitting in third place in the French league, Lens shuffled its starting lineup by making seven changes ahead of a tough game against Lyon this weekend.

Lens had an opportunity to double the lead on the stroke of halftime, but Mannone turned David Pereira da Costa’s low strike around the post.

Lorient, which won the French Cup in 2002, raised its game in the second half. But Leca saved Le Fee’s long-range strike in the 51st and palmed away a curling shot from Yoann Cathline in the 67th.