Coupe de France: Angers SCO v CA Bastia
This last 16 tie between Angers and the CA Bastia will be the only all-Ligue 2 match at this stage of the competition, yet it could be seen as one of the most uneven contests around, looking at the two teams’ respective experiences in the current season. While Angers are looking up, with promotion to the top flight now a real prospect, Bastia seem to be out of the race for survival already, and a return to the National after only one season in Ligue 2 has become pretty much unavoidable for Stéphane Rossi’s men.
On paper, therefore, Angers are clear favourites to go through to the quarter-finals on their home turf of Stade Jean Bouin. Stéphane Moulin’s players will have to focus entirely on this game, however, in order to avoid disappointment. With promotion to Ligue 1 also in their mind, Angers will have to remember that they only beat Bastia (1-0) thanks to Mohamed Yattara’s 88th minute goal in their last home game ten days ago. Once again this Tuesday, Yattara – along with Ayari – will be Angers’ main threat to Bastia’s defence. Meanwhile, Bastia will have nothing to lose in a game no one expects them to win. The Corsicans will rely on their top goal-scorer Romain Pastorelli and 2013 African Nations Cup hero Sunday Mba to make the difference against the fourth-best defence in Ligue 2. A big ask when you know that Bastia have only scored 12 goals in 23 league games.
In order to reach the Round of 16, both teams have played four rounds in the competition, and it is safe to say that their journey hasn’t been all fun and games: both Angers and Bastia have had to go through penalty shootouts twice since joining the draw in the seventh round, including a home qualification against Ligue 2 high-flyers Niort for Bastia in the round of 32 (2-2, 5-4 pen).
Angers, in the same round, managed a famous home victory against Sochaux at Jean-Bouin. While it is difficult to call that performance a giant-killing considering Angers’ superb Ligue 2 campaign and Sochaux’ shambolic Ligue 1 season, the 1-0 victory will have done a lot of good to a team already bursting with confidence.
You can be sure that Bastia will cling to their last hopes of rescuing anything from this season with all their heart, even though it remains difficult to look beyond Angers in this particular game. But as we very well know, anything can happen on the night and league positions don’t matter when it comes to qualifying for a Coupe de France quarter-final!