Coupe de France 16emes : Saint-Lo v Les Herbiers

CDF 2018

Fifth-tier Saint-Lo welcome third-tier Les Herbiers in another match that guarantees that the #magiedelacoupe will continue for another round.

Saint-Lo knocked out their equal Aubervilliers on penalties in the last round after drawing 2-2, with goals from William Coulibaly and Thomas Vauvy before a lot of misses in the shoot-out (including from Coulibaly, but Vauvy hit the target) saw them take it 3-2. Top of the Normandie group, they have struggled a little in the cup, also needing penalties to beat Change US, after earlier needing extra time to defeat an eighth-tier team in the sixth round (although, when the final result is 4-1 a.e.t it does suggest that the last 30 minutes were entertaining).

Their visitors have struggled as well, needing extra time to see off fifth-tier Angouleme 2-1 with goals from Louis Bongongui and David Permet. They are also in some trouble in the league, sitting in the relegation zone in the National, although they most recently won their first league game since mid-September, winning 2-1 away at (ten man) Lyon-Duchere.

Les Herbiers also made it 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.

Saint-Lô’s best performance in the cup was in 1997, when when they pushed top-tier Caen to extra-time in the huitiemes before losing 2-1. Their last league match was to beat the Caen B team 1-0, which may or may not be some karmic levelling. They have previously reached the 16emes in 1995, and in 1990, which involved a collector’s item a bit more interesting than the usual half-and-half scarf – although the end result wasn’t great, as they lost 8-0.

Before their last match, Coulibaly stressed the importance of Saint-Lo’s home support, anticipating that it changed a 50/50 match to 70/30 – « quand le publique pousse, il n’y a plus de fatigue, il n’y a plus rien de tout, on a envie de le faire plaisir, il faudrait le victoire au bout ».

This could be an interesting one, then – perhaps not vintage, but a low-key chance for a cupset.

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