Coupe de France 32emes : FC Fleury 91 vs ASC Biesheim
National 2 club Fleury 91 will welcome National 3’s ASC Biesheim to the Stade Robert-Bobin, confident of making it through to the Round of 32. The Alsatian visitors will, however, be going all-out for a win, believing that it may finally earn them some love amongst the largely nonplussed locals.
Although established in 1970, the same year as relatively close and slightly larger neighbours PSG, FC Fleury 91 have only been known as such since 2015, ditching the name Union Sportive de Fleury-Mérogis in order to try to disassociate the club name from the town’s main claim to fame – the largest prison in Europe. Instead, nowadays Fleury the men’s team is benefitting from having its name associated with the women’s team – the club are in Division 1 and are set to sign France’s Claire Lavogez on loan this month.
Fleury’s men have aspirations to eventually match their sister club’s lofty position, and they are well set to take the first step, as they sit top of their National 2 group, two points clear with a game in hand. A good cup run would be a nice bonus and the Floriacumois will be keen to better their best ever cup run last season, where they beat Ligue 2’s Brest at this stage, before falling to Avranches in the following round. Their progress has been relatively straightforward so far, winning 2-1 at sixth tier Olympique Marcquois in round 7 (goals from 32-year-old prolific lower-level striker and this season’s top scorer Oussoumane Fofana and strike partner Fobida Danso), then 4-0 against fourth tier Raon-l’Etape in round 8 (Fofana again amongst the scorers).
Standing in their way are lowly ASC Biesheim, who are not having the best of league seasons, sitting fourth-bottom of their National 3 group (although they have up to three matches in hand against some of their rivals).
This is the Alsatians’ first appearance at this stage of the competition – something that should be a source of pride for the small Haut-Rhin town (only 2,560 inhabitants). However, a mixture of apathy and the vagaries of television scheduling mean that a disappointing number of fans will be travelling to the outskirts of Paris. Two coaches had been booked to transport fans, but around 30 reservations were cancelled when Eurosport insisted the match be moved from Saturday to Sunday. David Cordonnier, who is organising the transport, tragically put out a call this week: “there are still ten places remaining of the 53 available in the coach”.
Club president Marc Nagor, speaking from the office of his insurance agency, is remaining bullish, however. “Whatever happens on Sunday, we will have written an important page in the history of our club.” With some impressively skewed logic, he adds: “I am confident – we are one of the 64 best teams in France, at a level that we’ve never reached before. It is to experience powerful moments like this that I am involved in football!”
Fleury will start as strong favourites while Biesheim are looking to enjoy their moment in the spotlight. However, the fact that the pressure is totally off may help the team give the 43 travelling fans something to cheer.