Coupe de la Ligue : Allez Ahamada and Rain Stops Play – Again

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Midweek Cup Action Ahoy! The Coupe de la Ligue reached the seiziemes – or, due to the structure of the competition, the dixiemes; we’ve already lost all the eligible third-tier teams and most of Ligue 2, as they made up the first two rounds. But now is the time the big boys arrive! Or, some of them, as the European teams are still sitting it out until the huitiemes actually feature huit matches. Given the most recent Europa results, for some of them that will be a relief not just for fixture-congestion reasons.

This round featured the usual chaos, with 31 goals (35 actually given and another handful chalked off), four or five or seven red cards depending on your point of view, two penalty shoot-outs of varying quality, and the forces of nature getting involved down in Corsica.

Tuesday.

Julien Viale put Laval up early on in the all-Ligue 2 clash with Evian, and then large quantities of not much happened for the next seventy-odd minutes. Gustavo Campanharo drew Evian level with ten minutes to go, at which point things got a little heated. Mohamed N’Dao was sent off for Evian, veteran team-mate Cedric Barbosa got a red on the bench for contestation, then Laval’s Erwan Quintin got a second yellow, leaving both sides down to ten men facing extra time. Adrien-Mehdi Monfray put Laval back ahead, Kevin Hoggas drew Evian back level, at which point Laval’s coach Dennis Zanko got sent to the stands, and it went to penalties. Campanharo’s effort was saved by Lionel Cappone, and on-loan Rachid Alioui made it five out of five for Laval to put them through.

In the other early game, Luca Miracoli (good name, apt) put Tours ahead against Angers early in the second half, which was enough to win it for the Ligue 2 side. Abdoulaye Doucoure scored just before the hour mark for Rennes away at SC Bastia, and Mehdi Zeffane had a second for the visitors refused rather harshly 15 minutes later, while the home support held up banners suggesting rather strongly that their club’s focus should be elsewhere.

Wednesday.

The early game was an eventful encounter between Gazelec and Guingamp, Jacques Zoua putting the home side ahead but the visitors equalising with a long-range freekick that very much embarrassed Jules Goda in goal shortly afterwards. Roderic Filippi got kicked in the head by Marcus Coco and started bleeding copiously, and that was half-time.

Alexandre Coeff put Gazelec back in front just after the restart, but then things escalated in the driving rain as Julien Begue equalised again, Coco was sent off, the rain got significantly more problematic, the players were taken off and France 4’s coverage went for a total burton. As everyone in Ajaccio sought shelter and TV switched from an error message and hold music to showing comedy shorts (not the ones the players were wearing) there was an attempt at a pitch inspection…

The referee took the only sensible view, that the surface was unplayable and unsafe, and for the second time in a couple of weeks, a 2-2 draw will be reset from the beginning at a date tbc.

The other Ligue 2 sides did well. Lois Diony put Dijon ahead against Reims early on, and while Gaetan Charbonnier equalised for the visitors almost immediately, Jeremy Bela got the second late in the first half to put Dijon through. Bourg-en-Bresse needed extra time to see off Nantes 3-2 in a match that saw a goal for Baba Traore, a brace for Adryan, two penalties converted by Lakdar Boussaha, a red card for Koffi Djidji, and much grumbling from the FCN faithful including one tweet that may or may not last and/or cop the writer some disciplinary comeback.

The last – and it went on a bit – match involving a tier two side was a ding-dong six-goal thriller in which Auxerre went ahead three times through Samed Kilic, Sohny Sefil and Gaetan Courtet, and three times Toulouse pegged them back with a brace for Wissam Ben Yedder and one for Yann Bodiger. Brahim Konate got sent off late on in regular time leaving the Ligue 2 side to play the prolongation down to ten men, and then they faced their second penalty shoot-out in two matches. Last time, Zacharie Boucher was the hero, saving all three from CA Bastia, but this time it was TFC’s Ali Ahamada who was the three-save hero, his last from Sefil to win the match particularly impressive. Both sides also sent one over, and Adrien Regattin will be particularly grateful to his goalkeeper after answering that age-old question, “OK, panenkas look really simple and effortless, but if the keeper just stayed put, wouldn’t you look a bit silly?”

There was another five-goal, er, game as Lorient beat Montpellier 3-2, the away side’s starting line-up suggesting that Rolland Courbis has both eyes firmly on the weekend’s league game against Toulouse. Benjamin Jeannot scored an early penalty, Mamadou N’Diaye equalised, and then the home side got two in five minutes through Marvin Gakpa and Romain Philippoteaux; supersub Souleymane Camara’s late consolation raised only mild hopes of a comeback by the visitors. Caen had two goals disallowed against Nice after an opener from Andy Delort, including one in injury time – the visitors immediately going up the other end to get the winner with their (and his) second from Alexandre Mendy, and while beleaguered Troyes went ahead at Lille through Brayan Perea, the home side struck back with goals from Stoppila Sunzu and Sehrou Guirassy to win 2-1.

So, four Ligue 2 sides make it through to the huitiemes on 15/16 December, for which the draw will be on 3 November, and the LFP are currently glaring at the fixture list trying to fit in another postponement.

Results

Evian* 2 – 2 Laval* (4-5 t.a.b)
Tours 1 – 0 Angers
SC Bastia 0 – 1 Rennes
Gazelec Ajaccio v Guingamp – postponed, rain.
Dijon 2 – 1 Reims
Lorient 3 – 2 Montpellier
Lille 2 – 1 Troyes
Caen 1 – 2 Nice
Bourg-en-Bresse 3 – 2 Nantes (a.p.)
ToulouseAuxerre (2-1 t.a.b)

 

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