Preview: Granville vs Bourg-en-Bresse – Coupe de France
Fifth tier Granville will fly the flag for the CFA2 this week as they host Ligue 2 Bourg-en-Bresse as the lowest-ranked team remaining in the Coupe de France.
In the previous round their Stade Louis-Dior was full as they beat their CFA2 peers Sarreguemines 3-1 thanks to two goals in the final six minutes. Top scorer Thomas Vauvy was the hero of the tie, with two poacher’s goals and an assist for Florian Jégu’s match-sealer.
Coach Johan Gallon may have slightly mixed feelings about this tie: as their Coupe run has progressed, their league form has floundered, and since qualifying for Round 9, they have drawn two and lost two, and lost first place, best defence and best attack status to Rennes 2. Most recently, they came from behind to draw 1-1 against (an albeit strong) Guingamp 2, with keeper Jeremy Aymes saving a penalty to secure the point (in true modern style, substitute keeper Clement Daoudou has been between the sticks for the cup matches).
The Louis-Dior will be full to the rafters again after the Normandy side won an appeal to host this tie (on condition that the pitch be extended by three metres and parking be made available to the referee as close as possible to the changing rooms). Tickets sold out in half an hour but for those who missed out, the match will be shown on a big screen in the big top that is already in situ for the town’s annual Carnaval.
Having already beaten Ligue 2 Laval in a previous round, Granville will not be overawed by their opponents. Bourg-en-Bresse are having an interesting league season, safely ensconced in mid-table with nine wins and 12 defeats from their 25 matches and entertaining neutrals all the way: their 35 goals for, is behind only the top two, while only Creteil have conceded more than their 42 goals against. Pape Sané, who signed for Granville’s partner-club Caen in January but has been loaned back, is their top league scorer with 11, while Lakdar Boussaha has 16 in all competitions.
Like Granville, Bourg’s cup run seems to have had an adverse effect on their league form: they have won only one of their last eight and, since qualifying for this round – with a very impressive 3-1 victory at Rennes, Julien Bègue, Boussaha and Sané securing a come-from-behind win – they have drawn two and lost two, most recently 2-1 at Brest. That match saw Sané score his first league goal in five; however, it also saw centre back Florian Ogier sent off, meaning he will miss this tie. And despite the Rennes win, Bourg’s away form is particularly bad this season – only Paris FC are faring worse in Ligue 2.
Bourg must surely start as favourites as they look to match their giant-killing run to the quarter final in 1998. However, Granville boast one of the biggest giant-killers of them all in defender Matthias Jouan, who played for Quevilly in their run to the final in 2012. And with a centre forward in hot form, Granville will fancy their chances of springing another surprise.