Coupe de France 2017 32emes – Saturday Part II

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We reach the halfway point of the 32emes tonight as seven more ties take place, including one all-Ligue 1 clash as PSG host Bastia, and potential upsets as three Ligue 1 teams travel to lower league opposition.

Blois Foot 41 (CFA2) vs FC Nantes (L1)

Stalwarts of Division 2 in the 70s before tumbling town the French football structure, Blois are making a gradual return to the foreground. Last season they won their Division d’Honneur and now, safely ensconced in sixth place in their CFA2 group, they have the chance to grab themselves some Coupe de France headlines against a resurgent Nantes. Les Canaris have won their last three matches during new coach Sergio Conceicao’s honeymoon period. So far he’s been the bee’s knees but will Nantes freeze in the town that did for de Guise?

Guingamp (L1) – Le Havre (L2)

Guingamp are having a very decent season in Ligue 1, currently in fifth, but it seems likely that they will take this competition very seriously after their cup triumph in 2014 that saw them have a similarly enjoyable crack at the Europa League. Five of the previous cup-winning side are still in place, including scorer Jonathan Martins Perreira, and they have some very able youngsets (Marcus Coco, Ludovic Blas) who will also fancy a swing at this.

Meanwhile Le Havre are eighth in Ligue 2 and might be missing Bob Bradley. They have to look further back for their CDF title, to 1959 – and understandably none of that team will be on the field on Saturday. They aren’t the goaliest (19 in 19) so as the more offensive EAG have home advantage, this should be a home win, hopefully featuring some of Guingamp’s less-used youngsters.

Besançon FC (CFA2) – Nancy (L1)

Formed in 2014 from ASPTT Besançon, BFC aren’t having a happy league campaign, which sees them bottom of CFA2 group E, but are having a better time in the cup, including beating CFA’s Jura Sud after extra time in the fifth round. This will be a significantly different proposition, however, but the fifth-tier side have their supporters, rounding up a set of largely positive predictions from famous names including Romain Hamouma, who used to play for nearby Racing Besancon, and reckons the home side will win with a goal from ‘the buffalo’ Mathieu Gégout.

They will welcome Nancy, who are in 13th place in their promotion season back to Ligue 1, but not scoring many goals, and who might think the league cup quarter final against Nantes midweek, or the key league battle against Bastia next weekend, more worthy of focus. The ANSL defence isn’t bad, the best of the bottom half with only 23 conceded – and that includes the six shipped to Monaco – so this might be a tight affair, but you have to think the top-flight side will take it eventually.

Louhans-Cuiseaux (CFA2) – Dijon (L1)

This one looks likely to go with the ranking as Louhans have needed penalties to beat their higher-ranked opponents (CFA2 Guegnon and CFA Andrezieux) so far. They made the huitiemes in 2002 (losing on penalties to Lorient), but haven’t made it to this stage since 2009.

While Dijon might not be going great shakes in their first season back in Ligue 1, they can at least score goals, and have arguably been a little unlucky in several matches against much tougher opposition than this. Mind you, if they do win, this would be their first away success of the season so far – but with no Coupe de la Ligue to worry about midweek, this match has routine win written all over it.

Quevilly-Rouen (Nat) – Drancy (CFA)

More significant cup previous in this match as Quevilly are famous for reaching the semi-finals in 2010 and the final in 2012, beaten each time by just one goal, by PSG and OL respectively. However, their opponents are no cup newbies, reaching the huitiemes in both 2011 and 2012 (beaten by Nice and Gazelec). The lower-ranked side have also already seen off a National team, beating Creteil 2-1 in round six, so whoever gets through this could cause difficulties in the next round.

Grenoble (CFA) – Fréjus-Saint-Raphaël (CFA)

This should be an intriguing fixture between two in-form CFA clubs. Grenoble, a Ligue 1 outfit as recently as the 2008/09 season and launchpad for the likes of Olivier Giroud and Youri Djorkaeff, take on Frejus Saint-Raphaël, a team only formed in 2009 following a merger of the two Frejus and Saint-Raphaël clubs. Both are sitting in the top three of their respective CFA groups and are on three-game winning streaks. Frejus went out of the cup to a 92nd minute winner against Bordeaux last year, whilst Grenoble were knocked out by another Cote d’Azur side in Villefranche. With six and seven goals each respectively, Grenoble’s Edwin Maanane and Frejus’ Neupocoussek Mendy could well be the key players. This should be a close but entertaining game with the home side maybe just starting as favourites.

Paris-SG (L1) – SC Bastia (L1)

The late game features a re-run of the 2015 Coupe de la Ligue final, which PSG took 4-0, as part of their back-to-back domestic trebles in the last two seasons. Things aren’t going as smoothly as usual this season in the league, but PSG also have a league cup quarter-final midweek against Metz to factor in before the league restarts, in their ongoing attempt to accumulate silverware.

Bastia are in a slightly awkward league position, sitting fourteenth, but reasonably parsimonious as both ends of the pitch. They aren’t busy midweek, however, so hopefully a first team will put in an appearance, with the aim of causing an upset. They have some bright young things upfront ahead of an occasionally agricultural defense, but a) the PSG squad looks surprisingly senior with several youngsters ‘resting’, and b) it’s not at Furiani, where you would give them more of a chance. PSG are 3/100 to go through, which seems a bit harsh on their opponents, but you can’t really argue with it. Of more interest for PSG fans might be who plays up-front, and whether new signing Julian Draxler puts in an appearance. Bastia will be hoping to spoil the party but it is difficult to see how they can.

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