Coupe de France 32emes : Saturday Part III
There are six matches happening in the Saturday early evening slot, including the all-minnow match-up of Canet Roussillon FC v Sud Nivernais Imphy Decize, and two Ligue 1 sides hoping not to slip up against lower opposition as Caen travel to SC Hazebrouck and Monaco to AS Yzeure. Elsewhere there are some matches that guarantee some smaller teams in the next round.
Angouleme CFC v Les Herbiers CF
A lower league side with historic cup pedigree, Angouleme host les Diables Rouges of Les Herbiers on Saturday evening. The home side, Coupe de France semi-finalists in 1967, 1968 and 1979, come into tie in good form. Sitting comfortably in fifth in their National 3 (fifth) division, Herve Loubat’s side have only lost twice in their 11 games to date. Their run in the cup so far has been relatively straightforward with goals proving to be of little concern after finding the back of the net 15 times already. Midfielder Lucas Franco and veteran striker Gilles Fabien look set to be their danger men coming into the tie.
Les Herbiers have had to use their cup run to provide solace from their league form. Nine games without a win have found the Vendee side fall into the relegation zone in the National (third tier). A comfortable three wins so far in the cup has given Frederic Reculeau and his side some welcome relief. They have dispatched three previous lower league opponents with ease, netting 12 goals in the process including a hat-trick in an earlier round for forward Kevin Rocheteau. Les Herbiers made into the round of 16 last season, losing out to a late goal in extra time against Guingamp after having previously knocked out two teams from Ligue 2.
This should be a close game with the potential for it be a high scoring affair with Les Herbiers perhaps having just enough to edge through.
EA Guingamp v Niort
Ligue 2 side Niort travel to Brittany as they face top-flight Guingamp in a fixture which on paper should be relatively comfortable for the Bretons. On a run of five games without defeat and eighth in the table, Antoine Kombouare has his Guingamp side once again punching above their weight. A surprisingly well-marshalled defence, which has only conceded one goal in that five game run, has been part of the reason for their success, as has the seeming rejuvenation of Jimmy Briand with the striker netting six goals for the season so far, including three in the last four games. Having won the competition in 2009 and 2014, Kombouare would love nothing more than to take his side on yet another cup run.
After a slow start to the campaign, Niort seemed to have found their feet in Ligue 2 before two defeats to high flyers Reims and Le Havre saw their first half of the season end on a slightly disappointing note. Goals for les Chamois come from forwards Didier Lamkel Ze and Ande Dona Ndoh who have six apiece, with further danger coming from out wide through Romain Grange who has seven goals and six assists in league and cup. Niort put up a good account of themselves when they hosted PSG last season, going down to two late goals. They will be hoping to rediscover that form on Saturday evening, albeit with a little more luck on their side.
US Colomiers Football v Le Puy Foot 43 Auvergne
A tie that will guarantee a fourth tier side into the next round. Le Puy Foot, an hour south-west of Saint-Etienne, will travel further to the outskirts of Toulouse to face US Colomiers. It is the home side who come into the fixture in the best league form as they sit top of their division and are on a run of eight games without defeat, conceding only two goals in that spell. In the cup, however, they have made heavy weather of some real minnows, with three one-goal wins over regional level opposition. It was in the previous round where they finally showed some of their league form, putting away fellow National 2 side Furiani, 3-0. Along with a really solid defence, Colomiers will look to the goals of Leo Fichten and Kevin Cardinali to see them through.
Le Puy Foot are also on a decent run in their league with only one defeat in their last 10 games. However, perhaps unlike Colomiers, they have disposed of their cup minnow opponents with professionalism. They have scored 17 goals already in the tournament with only one being conceded. Tony Patrao has been their main source of goals this season however with both teams possessing strong defences, the forwards could find the going tough. Fun fact for Le Puy Foot is that they are coached by Roland Vieira, who as a player was part of the same Lyon side which won the 1997 Coupe Gambardella as Steed Malbranque, Olivier Bernard and Florent Balmont. Whilst it is unlikely he’ll be taking his current side back for a Paris final, this should prove to be an entertaining but potentially low-scoring contest.