Soccer club travels over 8,600 miles to lose 12-0 in the Coupe de France

Team Golden Lion poses prior the French Cup match between LOSC Lille and Golden Lion FC at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on January 6, 2024 in Lille, France.

Golden Lion poses prior to the French Cup match against LOSC Lille at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on January 6 in France.Johnny Fidelin/Icon Sport/Getty ImagesCNN — 

Traveling often marks the beginning of much rest and relaxation, but for one soccer club from the small island nation of Martinique, that was perhaps not the case in its recent trip to northern France.

Golden Lion FC was drubbed by Ligue 1 club Lille 12-0 in its French Cup match on Saturday, though the subsequent scenes in the Stade Pierre-Mauroy lend credence to the saying, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”

Golden Lion hails from the town of Saint-Joseph in the Caribbean nation with an estimated population of roughly 396,000 people and, as champion of Martinique, was selected into the Coupe de France draw along with several other teams from overseas French territories.

The team began the over 8,600-mile round trip with a direct flight to Paris on Wednesday, according to Reuters, before heading to the northern city of Lille, which sits close to the French-Belgian border.

Golden Lion supporters could be seen throughout the stadium in good spirits ahead of the match, including one trombone player, and the players took to the pitch in earnest.

Lille's Turkish midfielder #10 Yusuf Yazici celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the French Cup football match between Lille (LOSC) and Golden Lion FC at the Pierre-Mauroy Stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, northern France, on January 6, 2024.

Yusuf Yazıcı scores his team’s first goal against Golden Lion FC.Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP/Getty Images

Lille, however, did not wait long to begin the goalfest, as Yusuf Yazıcı opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Golden Lion kept the affair relatively competitive until the 25th minute when Les Dogues forward Jonathan David scored his first of the night.

Kosovan winger Edon Zhegrova scored a nine-minute hat-trick in the first half and both David and Yazıcı added another to make it 7-0 at half-time.

The second half was not much better on the pitch as Les Dogues scored another five goals – including David finishing off his hat-trick – to make it 12-0 at the full-time whistle, Lille’s biggest win in club history.

Jonathan DAVID of Lille celebrates his goal with Edon ZHEGROVA during the French Cup match between LOSC Lille and Golden Lion FC at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on January 6, 2024 in Lille, France.

Jonathan David (right) celebrates one of his goals with fellow hat-trick hero Edon Zhegrova.Johnny Fidelin/Icon Sport/Getty Images

However, despite the big loss, Golden Lion players and fans could still be seen taking it all in and enjoying the occasion as a rare, possibly once-in-a-lifetime match-up for their side against one of the top five sides in France.

After the match, Lille players gave the Golden Lion squad a guard of honor as they walked off the pitch smiling and proud of the effort they gave.

Lille manager Paulo Fonseca said after the game that it was essential to respect both the Martinique-based side and his own fans by giving maximum effort.

“We played a committed match, which was the main objective. We respected our opponents and the fans. It was important to play a match with intensity,” Fonseca said. “The most important thing was to win and qualify. Today, we did a lot of good things, we pressed hard and created a lot of chances. We were very professional.”

While the scoreline will be something Lille fans will never forget, the Golden Lion squad and their supporters are sure to always remember the trip – and back – to Northern France.

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