Coupe de France 2017 32emes – Sunday Part II
The weekend’s 32emes draw to a close tonight with six matches (after postponements) taking place. The headline match is Lyon vs Montpellier, with some tantalising matches on the undercard – including last year’s surprise quarter finalists Granville hosting Ligue 1 opposition.
Istres (DHR) – Marseille Consolat (Nat)
The lowest-ranked team remaining in the competition are facing a local derby as FC Istres welcome Marseille Consolat, who have beaten two DH sides so far before labouring a little against CFA’s Hyeres in the last round, needing extra time to win 1-0. Istres were in Ligue 1 as recently as 2005, and then spent several seasons in Ligue 2 before being administratively relegated from National by the DNCG in summer 2015. They are having a fine cup run this season having already seen off Ligue 2’s Nimes and CFA side Rodez, so will be looking to add a third-tier side to their giant-killing record. Mouhssine Larhrib is the Istres attacker to look out for, but Les Aviateurs also have the wonderfully named Maverick Barsotti in midfield – if that doesn’t spell ‘upset’, what does ?
Granville (CFA) vs Angers (L1)
Last year’s cup heroes were Granville who, as a CFA2 team, reached the quarter finals, losing only 1-0 to Marseille after knocking out two Ligue 2 teams. They will relish hosting Ligue 1 Angers. Granville, promoted to the CFA after a second-place finish, will likely have Clément Daoudou in goal – you may remember that he missed the Marseille match last year after being badly assaulted following the team’s qualification for the quarter final.
Angers aren’t having a particularly happy time of it, sitting just one point above the relegation zone in Ligue 1, as the defensive solidity that brought them a ninth-place finish in the promotion year last season has deserted them a little, and they have just two points from the last seven games. It would be a big upset were Granville to win here, but given their previous you know they will give it a decent go.
LB Châteauroux (Nat) vs Pau FC (Nat)
2004 finalists Châteauroux host Pau in a clash between two National sides in slightly unfamiliar surroundings. The Castelroussins are still adjusting to the lowly surroundings of the National – this their second season there after being in Ligue 2 for the majority of 20 years; Pau meanwhile are finding their feet at this level after gaining promotion from the CFA at the end of last season. Châteauroux may wish that this match was taking place down south, since their away form is far better than their home form. This could be very tight.
Croix (CFA) vs Saint-Étienne (L1)
Les Verts of Saint-Etienne travel to the very north of the country and to the outskirts of Lille as they face les Verts of Croix of the CFA. The six-time Coupe de France champions will of course be favourites to progress here, especially as until the last round Croix had been making hard work of lower league opposition. A 7-0 victory in the previous round gave the CFA side welcome relief to their previous extra time and penalty shoot out wins. Samuel Robail is perhaps the player to look out for Croix, having scored seven goals from midfield so far this season. Saint-Etienne will be without Stephane Ruffier, Florentin Pogba, Robert Beric and Oussama Tannane who are all out injured. Even with goals at such a premium for Saint-Etienne they should have enough to go through.
Biarritz (DH) vs Rennes (L1)
Ligue 1 side Rennes face a trip to the south-western-most point of France to face Division d’Honneur side Jeanne d’Arc de Biarritz. The roots of this Basque sporting club go back to 1909 when they were named in honour of legendary French heroine Joan of Arc. Rennes are arriving at a bad time for Biarritz as the home side have only three wins all season under their belts. Striker Willy Duventru will be their go-to guy for goals. Rennes will be without Giovanni Sio, who is AFCON-bound and Paul-Georges Ntep, who is seemingly Wolfsburg-bound. With some exciting young players in the squad, Rennes should breeze through the fixture, but in this writer’s humble opinion, the fear of a “Coupeset” grows too strong for comfort.
Lyon (L1) vs Montpellier (L1)
Five-time winners Lyon face two-time winners Montpellier in the last game of the round – which follows the draw for the next round, which is being used as the pre-match entertainment at Parc OL. New recruit Alex Morgan is scheduled to take part (in the draw) so look out for Wendie Renard translating, and Jean-Michel Aulas having a bit of a moment up in the stands.
It’s the first time these two teams have met in the cup, but four of their last seven league encounters have ended 5-1 so…indicative odds on that, 32/1 for OL and 174/1 for MHSC. There was also that rather unexpected 4-2 away victory for Montpellier last season, so hopefully there will be goals. Lyon are fourth in Ligue 1 with a game in hand and on a run of four straight league wins; Montpellier are eleventh and look unlikely to break into the top half given injuries and current transfer talk. A home win seems inevitable.
POSTPONEMENT : FC Fleury 91 (CFA) vs Stade Brestois (L2) vs weather
Aaaaand it wouldn’t be French football without “des conditions climatiques” getting involved and the calendar getting complicated right from the get-go. We await official confirmation of the new date.